SC seeks details about NGOs’ source of funding

Jun 24 2015

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The matter was taken up during the hearing of a bail petition of Haroonur Rashid who was booked for an alleged fraud. —File
The matter was taken up during the hearing of a bail petition of Haroonur Rashid who was booked for an alleged fraud. —File

ISLAMABAD: At a time when the federal government is planning to regulate non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the matter caught the attention of the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

A three-judge bench headed by Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja asked the federal and provincial governments to furnish complete details about the source of funding of the NGOs, the sectors where they spent money, mechanism to monitor their activities and the process of their registration.

“In case appropriate and complete information is not shared, the federal interior secretary as well as four chief secretaries will be summoned in person,” the court warned.

The matter was taken up during the hearing of a bail petition of Haroonur Rashid who was booked for an alleged fraud in a business transaction. It was revealed during the hearing that the parties involved in the case had invested in “Baraan”, a Khyber Pakhtunkhwa-based NGO.

The court decided that it would first take up the issue relating to the activities of NGOs and then deal with the bail petition. It observed that the print media was full of stories regarding the issue of NGOs and the statements of the ministers, but in reality nothing was happening to rein in such organisations.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar had said on Monday that the government intended to re-register all local and international NGOs operating in the country within six months and they would be allowed to work only after security clearance.

On Tuesday, Deputy Attorney General Sajid Ilyas Bhatti informed the court that the State Bank had been requested to provide details of bank accounts of Baraan, which was not a registered NGO.

Justice Jawwad said he wondered how the federal or the provincial governments had no idea from where the funds to the tune of Rs30 million had come in the bank accounts of a particular NGO in three months.

“Money is like oxygen for these NGOs,” the court said, adding that if the supply was blocked the NGOs would automatically shut down their businesses.

The DAG said that in most cases NGOs directly received funds in their accounts.

The case will be taken up on July 1.

Published in Dawn, June 24th, 2015

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