ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday directed the high level inter-ministerial committee set up to oversee operations of international non-government organisations (INGOs) to expeditiously review laws regulating INGOs working in Pakistan.
The committee, which has been set up to review laws and regulations regarding accreditation and working conditions of INGOs in Pakistan, has been directed by the premier to submit a report as soon as possible.
INGOs have come under the government’s radar after a 2012 Pakistan intelligence report linked aid group ‘Save the Children’ to Dr Shakeel Afridi, who the CIA allegedly used to carry out a fake vaccination programme as they searched for Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.
Last week, authorities ordered closure of ‘Save the Children’ in Pakistan on grounds that the international aid group was “working against the country”.
But the orders were later suspended by the ministry of interior in a matter of days.
In November 2013, the PML-N government announced its intention to regularise INGOs yet authorities have been continuously “avoiding” signing memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with almost 130 national and international NGOs for the past year and a half, sources told media
According to an official from the ministry of Economic Affairs Division (EAD), INGOs had initially been working in the country after signing “open-ended agreements” but the PML-N government introduced a regularisation policy in November 2013, whereby agreements of up to a maximum of five years were to be signed with such bodies.
The official said around 150 NGOs, a majority of them international, submitted relevant registration documents under the new policy in early 2014. But he said so far the ministry had signed MoUs with 19 INGOs only.
The inter-ministerial committee formed will recommend improvements in existing rules and procedures for screening, regulation and monitoring of INGOs.
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