Imran Khan govt terminates operation of 18 foreign NGOs in Pakistan; EU, five countries voice 'deep concern'

Islamabad: The European Union (EU) and five other foreign missions in Islamabad Thursday expressed "deep concern" over Pakistan's move to terminate the operation of the 18 international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) in the country.

According to the media reports, the interior ministry in October ordered them to cease their operations and leave the country within two months.

File image of Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan. AP

File image of Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan. AP

Among the 18 INGOs, nine have an association with the US, three with the UK and two with the Netherlands. Others have connections with Italy, Switzerland, Denmark, and Ireland.

"We fully respect the Government's right to maintain an INGO registration policy but we share a deep concern over the way in which it has been implemented...," said a joint statement issued by the EU Delegation, Heads of Mission of EU member states in Pakistan, and Heads of Mission of Australia, Canada, Japan, Norway and Switzerland.

They said that the group strongly believed that a vibrant civil society is indispensable for good governance and inclusive development, issues that Prime Minister Imran Khan's government promotes and which are at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals.

"We urge that, in the interest of the population of Pakistan, not least its most vulnerable citizens, a solution be found as soon as possible to avoid the closing down of further INGOs' activities," the group said.

Pakistan government introduced a new policy for registration of all INGOs and NGOs after relations with the foreign charities deteriorated following reports that the CIA used a Pakistan doctor, Shakil Afridi, to start a fake vaccination campaign to confirm the presence of al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad where he was killed in 2011.

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Updated Date: Dec 13, 2018 21:13:52 IST

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