ISLAMABAD: About 25 international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) have been formally permitted to operate in Pakistan following their registration under new procedures and the signing of MoUs with the government.

The decision was taken at a meeting, chaired by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, held at the Interior Ministry on Tuesday.

Interior Secretary Arif Khan told Dawn after the meeting that of the 130 INGOs that had applied for registration under the new procedures, 25 have been formally extended permission to operate. Many of these organisations had been allowed to continue in principle with the applications previously approved in two separate batches.

He said that formal permission had been granted to these INGOs after reports were received from the security agencies. He said that some INGOs had still not submitted the required documents. “Such INGOs have been given a deadline to meet the requirements within 15 days”, but he did not say what would be their fate after the deadline expired.

He also hinted that the process of INGOs’ registration would be completed in four to six weeks, adding that the ministry had not yet rejected any application.

Unregistered organisations given another 15 days to complete documentation

INGOs that have been cleared by the Interior Ministry include: KnK Japan; Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Operational Centre, Brussels, Belgium; MSF, France; MSF, Holland; Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind (Sight Savers), UK; Qatar Charity, Qatar; Jhpiego Corporation, USA; Oxfam-GB, UK; Helpage International, UK; Care International, USA; Secours Islamique France; Association for Aid and Relief, Japan; JEN, Japan; International Medical Corps, USA; Saudi Relief Committee for Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia; Relief International, USA; World Learning Incorporated, USA; Sakura Wheelchair Project, Japan; Action Against Hunger, USA; Midland Doctors Association, UK; Terre des homes, Switzerland; The Fred Hollows Foundation, Australia; Health Care 4 All International, UK; King Abdullah’s Relief Campaign for Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the American Refugee Committee International, USA.

The interior minister told members of the ministry’s INGOs Committee to further expedite the process of registration, in consultation with all stakeholders. He said that the new policy was aimed at facilitating INGOs to regulate their affairs and make the system more transparent on one hand and to build a strong partnership between the government and NGO sectors in all areas of development.

The minister said that the interior ministry was ready to help put a similar mechanism in place for the registration of NGOs and regulating their affairs in the provinces.

Talking about private security companies, the Interior Minister also directed to revoke licences of private security companies who have not submitted their particulars and details to ICT administration.

The meeting also reviewed progress on the Islamabad Safe City Project. The minister was informed that the project had passed its test phase and was ready to be formally inaugurated. The integrated security and traffic management system in the federal capital would not only complement the efforts of law-enforcement agencies, but would help with resource optimisation. The success of the project would enable the government to replicate it in all major cities of the country.

Apart from the minister and the interior secretary, the meeting was attended by the special secretary interior, the Nacta chief, Islamabad police chief, Nadra chairman, ICT chief commissioner, deputy commissioner, Safe City Project director and senior ministry officials.

Published in Dawn, March 16th, 2016