Pakistan government has stopped 27 international aid groups from working in Pakistan. These NGOs were working in unlicensed areas. They were encouraging human rights fighters to criticize restrictions on free speech and humane work. Talal Chaudhry Pakistan’s Minister of State for Interior Affairs gave 27 NGOs only 3 months ultimatum to finish their operations. These expelled NGOs included Action Aid, World Vision, Plan International, Trocaire, Pathfinder International, Danish Refugee Council, George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, Oxfam Novib, and Marie Stops.
According to the Interior minister these NGOs were working in Pakistan “which is beyond their mandate and for which they have no legal justification”.
He said these NGOs spend “all their money” on administration. They pose to do the work which actually they are not doing. Moreover, they work in unauthorized areas.
The Pakistan Humanitarian Forum (PHF), represented 63 international aid groups while its 11members were issued “letters of rejection”. Plan International which is working since 1997, is supporting over 1.6 million children across Pakistan. These organizations told to appeal in the court because they were given no reason for being forced shut down.
“The organizations are hopeful that the appeals process will make them possible for their work with vulnerable and marginalized children, especially girls, to continue in Pakistan,” he gave a statement.
Talal Chaudhry said that many NGOs increased after the 11Sep, 2001 attacks in America, using the name of the global war on terror to provide humane assistance.
“But there were also a number of NGOs that are used, knowingly or unknowingly for activities that conflict with Pakistan’s national interests,” Talal Chaudhry said.
He said that registration procedures are ordinary in other countries. Pakistan has strict its attitude towards domestic and international NGOs in recent years.These NGOs are asked to complete required registration process and clear other bureaucratic obstacles to continue working in the country.
The Save the Children aid NGO fell into difficulty with the government in 2011, when it was linked to a Pakistani doctor enlisted by the CIA. The CIA wanted them to help them in the hunt leader of Al Qaeda militant, Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad.
In January, the interior minister halted operations of dozens of NGOs working on women’s issues and human rights.
Pakistan is alone in taking severe measures against the foreign charities.
Since 2014, Indian government had tightened non-profit groups, saying they were acting against India’s national interests. Many of the licenses of the foreign funded charities have been cancelled because they were reported of misusing their donations.
To stop these NGOs resulted as a number of activists disappeared this year. Around 14 people were interrogated which included journalists, political workers, and social media activists.
(HRCP) Human Rights Commission of Pakistan’s three members have disappeared in the past year, told Chairperson Mehdi Hassan.
Saroop Ijaz, a representative for the Pakistan Human Rights Watch said, “They both signify the shrinking space for free expression and activism in Pakistan and the diminishing tolerance the Pakistan state has.”