Chaining NGOs

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  • Is Pakistan trying to bring order?

Non-State agencies or NGOs can prove a fatal threat to the existence and solidarity of a society if given a free-hand and unchecked liberty. The term Non-Governmental Organisation was first coined in 1945 at the time of creation of the UN. Experts say that the UN itself is also an intergovernmental organisation. According to the UN, any kind of private organisation that is independent from government control can be termed an NGO, provided it is not-for-profit. All over the world, most of the NGOs play a very positive role in serving humanity but at the same time there are some NGOs which play a role otherwise. According to different survey reports, there are so many NGOs which are working for their own monetary benefits and so many are there which are involved in maneuvering of political situations and in brain-washing of the innocent people. Most of the NGOs involved in negative activities in different countries are usually of some international background.

According to a report published some time in 2017, approximately 1.5 million NGOs operate in the United States. These NGOs undertake a wide array of activities, including political advocacy on issues such as foreign policy, elections, the environment, healthcare, women’s rights, economic development, etc. The US administration has never created any hurdle for any NGO if it follows the rules and regulations framed by the US government. However, before getting registered in US every NGO has to pass through a strict process of security clearance; same is the case in other countries. Various surveillance departments keep an eye on the working of NGOs specifically when they are of some foreign origin. A few years back, the Russian government put a ban on a Washington-based international nongovernmental organisation named The National Endowment for Democracy. It was the ever first International NGO which was banned in Russia under a law against “undesirable”. In short NGOs could play a very positive role in the betterment of ailing humanity anywhere in any country but they become dangerously disastrous when they start interfering into the affairs directly linked with the security and existence of a country. Intelligent and wise are the countries which have introduced a set-pattern of rules and regulations for the working of NGOs particularly for international NGOs. In countries like US and UK, any INGO found trying to exceed the provided limits is simply banned for a limited time period or on permanent basis.

Just to channelise the working of international NGOs in Pakistan, a policy framework was introduced by the government in 2015. Before that there was no strict policy for the working of international NGOs in the country. So many agents of hostile countries succeeded in intruding here in the garb of international NGO workers particularly after 2008 earthquake and they really created serious problems for the country. To save the country from further complications, the government of Pakistan asked all INGOs present in Pakistan or desirous of operating in Pakistan to register them with the ministry of interior. More than 140 INGOs sent their online applications for their registration in Pakistan and after a very strict screening, 66 of them were approved and allowed to work that time. Among the already working INGOs more than 60 were found working against Pakistan’s security and solidarity. The government of Pakistan sent notices to 49 of them, first in November 2017 and then in August 2018 and asked them to stop their operation in the country. Eighteen out of these forty-nine INGOs expressed reservations regarding notices served to them, so they filed their appeals against the decision of the government of Pakistan.

Now the interior ministry has issued these INGOs final notices for winding up their operations in Pakistan within two months

A special committee was constituted for the purpose of looking into the matter. After a very detailed and independent consideration on the matter, the appeals of all those 18 INGOs were regretted by the special-committee. Now the interior ministry has issued these INGOs final notices for winding up their operations in Pakistan within two months. Instead of acting upon the directions of the government of Pakistan, some ‘well-wishers’ rather patrons of these INGOs have started an anti-Pakistan propaganda move at international level. The world is being misguided with the disinformation that the government of Pakistan is creating hurdles for INGOs. The fact of the matter is that Pakistan is creating no hurdles for anyone but it is the basic right of Pakistan to put a check on all those who are involved in any type of anti-Pakistan activity. A report on putting a check on the activities of INGOs says, “In the absence of a clear policy prior to 2015, some of the INGOs were successful in penetrating various sectors of society and accomplished agenda of their donors. These INGOs were observed endeavouring to influence our security, religious matters besides breaching social norms and customs.

After formulation of policy frame work it was decided to bring all INGOs under scrutiny resulting in formulation of INGOs Policy – 2015.” But that doesn’t mean that Pakistan is discouraging the INGOs and stopping them from working in Pakistan. At present there are about 81 INGOs which are contributing positively in various welfare and development projects inside Pakistan and they are doing all this after getting permission from the government of Pakistan. These INGOs include 11 from Germany, 14 from UK and 20 from USA and so many from other countries. Certainly no country can allow any foreign organisation spying of its strategic sites, collection of sensitive data illegally and running of fake immunisation campaigns within its boundaries? If Pakistan is trying to bring things in a proper order, its efforts must be appreciated.