ISLAMABAD: Another 19 international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) were given the go-ahead, in principle, to operate in the country under the new procedures laid down by the government.

The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Tuesday, and the formalities regarding final approval for the INGOs are expected to be completed within a week.

This is the second batch of INGOs permitted to carry out their activities after online registration was introduced in December last year. The first batch, including the Belgium-based Medicins Sans Frontiers, had been given the go-ahead last year.

Around 130 INGOs have applied for registration under the new rules. The government has not released a list of the new INGOs registered by the government.

Tuesday’s meeting was attended by Interior Secretary Shahid Khan and acting National Counter-terrorism Authority (NACTA) Coordinator Ihsan Ghani.

The meeting discussed a host of issues including, the deliberations of the recently-held Joint Re-admission Committee in Brussels, the status of the exit control list (ECL), monitoring the capacity of private security companies, and arrangements put in place for the security of educational institutions and media houses.

Chaudhry Nisar praised the efforts of his ministry in reaching out an agreement with the EU over Pakistan’s concerns on the issue of deportees and various loopholes in the implementation of EURA.

Expressing his satisfaction over the outcome of the meeting in Brussels, the minister observed that EU’s cooperation in this regard would also speed up efforts aimed at addressing the issue of illegal immigrants and human trafficking.

The meeting was informed that the number of individuals whose names were on the ECL had come down from over 14,000 to around 3,000.

The meeting also discussed the question of formulating new standard operating procedures regarding private security companies. The minister directed that in the first phase the 196 security companies in the federal capital should be issued notices. They will be required to submit their particulars; including the number of employees and offices as well as details of their training mechanism to the interior ministry within one week, failing which, their permission to operate is liable to be cancelled.

Published in Dawn, February 10th, 2016

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