Banned INGOs free to work until final decision is taken: Ahsan Iqbal



ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Interior on Wednesday allowed previously disbarred International non-governmental organisations (INGOs) to keep working until a final decision is taken on their appeals.

The directive was issued by Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal keeping in view the operational affairs of the INGOs and country’s image at international level.

In December 2017, the federal government had ordered 21 foreign-funded groups to wrap up their activities and prepare to leave after they failed to re-register under the tougher regulations introduced two years ago.

It is pertinent to mention here that INGOs, whose registration is cancelled, are entitled to an appeal within 90 days. If the appeal is rejected, however, they will have to leave the country within 60 days.

The decision to ban the 21 INGOs had been condemned by activists, academics, non-governmental organisation (NGO) workers and civil society organisations, who said that the move would have a negative impact on an already under-developed country which needed international support to improve basic necessities such as health and education.

The government has long treated foreign-aid groups in the country with suspicion, fearing they could mask efforts to spy on the country. Senate’s Standing Committee on States and Frontier Regions has asked INGOs operating in FATA for their own and workers’ records, alleging that these INGOs have started operating ‘without oversight’.

“These INGOs obtain funds in FATA’s name but they neither utilise the funds properly nor employ any locals,” Senator Saleh Shah complained during a committee meeting. “These INGOs have gone against the orders of the governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” he alleged.

At this, FATA officials had reminded the committee that NGOs and INGOs operating in the region had been told that they must give grade-16 jobs to locals who have FATA domiciles. Those found in violation of the orders will have their No Objection Certificates revoked, they added.