Pakistan evicts foreigners working for Save the Children

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Pakistani authorities have ordered six foreigners working for the aid group Save the Children to leave the country, officials said Thursday, suggesting the aid workers had been helping a foreign spy agency operating on Pakistani soil.
An official from the Pakistani Foreign Ministry and a Pakistani security official confirmed the order and said it was linked to suspicions the foreigners had been working with the spy agency. They declined to be identified because they were not authorized to speak to the news media, reported CNN.
A spokesman for the Save the Children, Ghulam Qadri, denied the accusations against the organization, which operates in dozens of countries. He said officials from the Interior Ministry hadn’t explained why the foreign workers had to leave.
The Pakistani authorities have previously alleged that Save the Children was linked to the CIA’s search in Pakistan for Osama bin Laden, accusations the organization has long denied. Bin Laden was killed in a U.S. Navy SEAL raid in Pakistan in May 2011.
“Save the Children has never been involved in any activity beyond our mandate,” Qadri said. “We have always cooperated with investigators and provided them with all the information they have asked for.”
In a May 2011 report, Pakistani investigators alleged that Save the Children’s country director in Pakistan at the time had introduced doctor Shakil Afridi to the CIA in 2008.
Pakistani authorities accused Afridi of working with the CIA to set up a fake vaccination campaign to try verify bin Laden’s whereabouts.
Save the Children denies being involved with the CIA or the search for bin Laden.
Afridi “has never worked for Save the Children,” Qadri said. “This has been made clear.”
Afridi is now serving a 33-year prison sentence related to separate charges of providing medical care for Pakistani militant groups.
Qadri said the authorities had initially given Save the Children’s six foreign employees two weeks to leave the country, but the group is negotiating for more time. He said some of the employees had already left Pakistan.
Save the Children says the group remains fully operational with more than 2,000 Pakistanis working in 70 districts throughout the country.
“We have a firm resolve that we will put the needs of the children first,” Qadri said. “We’ll continue to work with the same spirit and zeal for the rights of the children in this country.”

2 COMMENTS

  1. As if hiding a fugitive was a great service to humanity. Does Pakistan understand the loss of thousands innocent lives? Pakistan! Come out of this Pan-Islamic utopia.

  2. I must disagree with Max above. Pakistan's hospitality shouldn't be abused by organizations if theyre sincere about 'saving' thousands of lives alone. Our national security comes first. I am not defending OBL or such, but I am saying that there is supposed to be credible information that at least some of the 'Save the Children' staff in Pakistan– foreigners and locals– were involved in spying against national interests. I think that we should also make a proper check of Pakistani employees of this organization, especially employees from the Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa area.

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