Islamabad expels multiple foreign aid groups | World Defense

Islamabad expels multiple foreign aid groups

Khafee

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Islamabad expels multiple foreign aid groups
AAMIR SAEED
17 December 2017

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has ordered 23 international non-governmental organizations (INGOs), including ActionAid, Plan International and Marie Stopes, to leave the country by the end of January, risking bilateral trade and relations with the host countries of the foreign-aid groups.

The Ministry of Interior issued letters to the INGOs directing them to close their operations and leave Pakistan within 60 days as their applications for registration had been rejected.
“Action against these INGOs has been taken based on intelligence reports,” a senior Interior Ministry official told Arab News.

He revealed that majority of the foreign aid groups that have been directed to close their operations in Pakistan were working in restive parts of the country, including the provinces of Baluchistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

“Our intelligence agencies have been closely watching the operations of these INGOs and suspected some of them of being involved in inciting unrest in the local population in restive areas of the country in the name of human rights,” the official said.

In 2015, Pakistan directed all foreign aid groups working in the country to re-register with the Interior Ministry by submitting certain documents including annual financial audits and their funding sources.

The government has so far permitted 73 INGOs to work in Pakistan and is scrutinizing the documents of another 20 to ascertain whether they will be allowed to work in the country.

A group of foreign missions in Pakistan submitted a letter to the ministry on June 29 this year expressing their concern over the INGO registration process and the rejection of applications from some of the aid groups.

“We are concerned that the registration process is having a negative impact on the delivery of humanitarian and development assistance,” the letter, jointly written by heads of foreign missions including those of Australia, Canada, the EU, Germany, Norway, Sweden and the UK, stated.

The majority of the INGOs that have been permitted to work in Pakistan come from the US, Germany, Switzerland, the UK, France and Norway.

Mohammad Tahseen, convener of the Pakistan Civil Society Forum, told Arab News that it is illegal and unethical to expel INGOs providing services related to education, health, poverty reduction, climate change and agriculture to marginalized segments of society in Pakistan.

“The expulsion of foreign-aid groups will send a negative image of Pakistan to the international community,” he said. “It will also have a negative impact on Pakistan’s bilateral trade and relations with the host countries of the INGOs.”

Tahseen said that if the government had evidence of any wrongdoing by these INGOs, it should have been presented at a proper legal forum before the expulsion orders were issued.

He said the expulsion of INGOs from Pakistan would only add to the rampant unemployment and sufferings of the poor, especially in far-flung areas of the country where the government has failed to provide basic facilities including education and health care.

Pakistan Humanitarian Forum, which represents 62 international INGOs, said in a report that it spent $285 million on various humanitarian and development works, directly benefiting some 29 million people across Pakistan, in 2016. It also claims to have employed over 5,000 local staff.

Pakistan stepped up its monitoring of foreign-aid groups after the killing of Osama Bin Laden in 2011 by a US Navy Seals team in Abbottabad, a garrison city in the KP province.

The country’s intelligence agencies accused Save the Children, an INGO, of being complicit in helping the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to find the Al-Qaeda kingpin in Pakistan — a charge the charity denies. In 2015, Pakistan also expelled the Norwegian Refugee Council and forced a temporary shutdown of Save the Children in the country, while Medecins Sans Frontieres was expelled from the FATA in September 2017.

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1210076/world
 

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Pakistan Orders George Soros Foundation, Other Aid Groups to Close
Dec. 13, 2017,
By Saad Sayeed

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan has told at least 10 foreign-funded aid groups to close, an umbrella agency said on Wednesday, including a charity founded by hedge fund billionaire and philanthropist George Soros, the group said.

Pakistan has toughened its stance towards domestic and international non-governmental groups in recent years, accusing some of using their work as a cover for espionage.

In January, it ordered about a dozen groups working on women's issues and human rights to halt their operations.

A representative of the Pakistan Humanitarian Forum (PHF), which represents 63 international aid groups, said the Ministry of Interior had issued 10 of its members "letters of rejection", meaning their applications to register had been rejected.

The forum did not identify the 10 groups but two international groups, the Pakistani branch of the Soros’ charity the Open Society Foundations, and ActionAid, said they had been told they had to close.

"We obviously find what has happened both disappointing and surprising, and are urgently seeking clarification," the executive director of the Open Society's Pakistani office, Saba Khattak, said in a statement.

The group had spent $37 million on grants and relief assistance in Pakistan since 2005, she said.

The interior ministry did not respond to requests for comment.

However, the ministry, in a letter to one of the 10 groups and seen by Reuters, said its registration application had been denied.

"Wind up operations/activities of above said INGO within 60 days," the ministry said in the letter.

It did give a reason why the group had to stop its work.

The ministry lists 139 international non-governmental organizations (INGO) on its website that have submitted registration applications, of which 72 are still being processed.

There is no list of those whose applications have been denied.

"During the lengthy INGO registration process we provided all the information and documents required and are confident we comply with all necessary rules and regulations," ActionAid country director Iftikhar Nizami said in a statement.

This year, medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres was ordered to stop work at three facilities in violence-plagued ethnic Pashtun areas bordering Afghanistan, although the interior ministry lists the group as an approved INGO.

The Save the Children aid group fell afoul of the government in 2011, when it was linked to a Pakistani doctor recruited by the CIA to help in the hunt that led to the killing of al Qaeda militant leader Osama bin Laden in the town of Abbottabad.

Save the Children’s foreign staff were expelled from Pakistan soon after the accusations surfaced, but more than 1,000 local staff continued to operate.

The charity denied any links with the doctor or the CIA.

(Reporting by Saad Sayeed; Editing by Robert Birsel)

https://www.usnews.com/news/world/a...ge-soros-foundation-other-aid-groups-to-close
 

Khafee

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Right decision. NGO's who induldge in anything besides relief work should be shown the door.
 

Nilgiri

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Right decision. NGO's who induldge in anything besides relief work should be shown the door.
Yes good decision. Many of these groups are way more trouble than benefit esp long term.

Good to cut them off ASAP before they entrench and make addiction/dependency avenues in Pakistan society and politics.
 

Indus Falcon

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Yes good decision. Many of these groups are way more trouble than benefit esp long term.

Good to cut them off ASAP before they entrench and make addiction/dependency avenues in Pakistan society and politics.
A number of these so called NGO's, were found to be indulging in activities, that were contrary to what they claimed.
 
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