ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali while speaking to the press on Monday said that Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) will now operate under the Interior Ministry instead of the Economic Affairs Division.
The minister said that the high-level inter-ministerial committee, set up under Special Assistant to PM Tariq Fatemi for reviewing laws and regulations regarding accreditation and working conditions of INGOs working in Pakistan, had recommended that NGOs should operate under the interior ministry.
He also stressed that there should be a transparent accountability system with regards to NGOs. "We should know where their money is coming from and what it's being used for."
Nisar said the matter would likely be tackled within the next three to six months.
"A lot of NGOs are doing work that governmental institutions are not equipped or able to do. We welcome these NGOs but we will not allow any NGO to work here if they operate in conflict with our values."
"This is a very important sector for Pakistan. There are over 40 per cent unregistered NGOs. No one will be allowed to conduct illegal activities in Pakistan under the guise of an NGO," he underscored.
Talking about international aid agency "Save the Children", the minister said: "Save the Children is not an enemy of the state; it has been registered since 1997 and is a globally-recognised NGO but during the PPP government's tenure in 2012, some intelligence reports were uncovered in relation to it." However, he said, the previous government had not taken any action.
Nisar said that visas would not be issued for staffers of unapproved NGOs. "Only routine visas will be issued for those NGOs which are approved, and are operating under their designated mandate."
In a similar context, he said, no visas had been issued for foreign representatives of Save the Children, nor was the government intending to do so until the new policy was implemented.
Nisar said that "Save the Children" had applied for approval in 2014 but their plea was still under process.
The minister said NGOs would be consulted with regards to the new policy, adding that all NGOs would be encouraged to adopt self regulatory systems.
On June 12, authorities had ordered closure of 'Save the Children' in Pakistan on grounds that the international aid group was “working against the country”.
But the orders were later suspended by the ministry of interior in a matter of days.