ISLAMABAD: The federal government decided Tuesday that all International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs) presently working in Pakistan will continue to function for a period of six months within specified areas of operation allowed by the authorities.
A spokesman for the PM House, Daniyal Gilani, told media that it was decided that in order to streamline the functioning of INGOs in Pakistan, all INGOs will complete a fresh process of registration with the government within three months.
The meeting directed that the inter-ministerial committee, headed by Special Assistant to PM on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi, will provide the guidelines — including rules, processes and draft legislation for streamlining the work of INGOs in Pakistan in future.
The committee will also suggest a monitoring and oversight mechanism to ensure compliance with legislation and rules in the future.
The meeting was attended by Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Federal Minister of Finance Ishaq Dar, Special Assistant to PM on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi and other senior officers.
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.
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