ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan was informed on Friday that 66 international non-government organisations (INGOs) had been registered so far and the applications of 10 others rejected under a new procedure adopted by the ministry.
Presiding over a meeting, the minister called for completion of the process to register the INGOs through the online procedure by July 31.
The participants approved the signing of a memorandum of understanding with another four INGOs.
Nisar orders completion of registration through online process next month
The meeting was informed that decision on the applications of 36 INGOs had yet to be taken.
Sources told Dawn that most of the pending applications were likely to be rejected for various reasons.
The meeting decided that three-month time would be given to the INGOs stopped from working to wind up their projects.
Chaudhry Nisar asked the authorities concerned to decide about all the pending applications by the end of next month, keeping in view their performance, projects and their socio-economic impact.
He said besides completing the registration process, it should be ensured that all the registered INGOs were provided all possible support from the government.
He said the way the INGOs had been used in the past had not only dented the credibility of the organisations, but also created lack of trust between the government and them, leading to misunderstandings.
Restoration of trust
He said that the online registration system would help rectify the mistakes of the past and restore confidence between the INGOs and the government, enabling both to work together for socio-economic development.
The minister ordered strengthening of the INGOs wing in the interior ministry with the help of the National Database and Registration Authority and making it more vibrant. He said an online mechanism for coordination between the government and the INGOs should be promoted to decide the matters relating to them in the minimum time and bring red-tapism to an end.
“While we will welcome INGOs to operate freely and independently in Pakistan, let me also make it very clear that now there would absolutely be no margin or space for any INGO to misuse its permission. We would not allow anyone to work against our national security interests under the facade of INGO,” Chaudhry Nisar said.
The new policy to regulate operations of the INGOs, launched in October 2015, warned them against any engagement in money laundering, terrorist financing, weapons smuggling, anti-state activities or maintenance of links with banned organisations, which would entail cancellation of their registration.
A breach of security or involvement in any activity inconsistent with national interests or contrary to the government’s policy will lead to cancellation of registration.
The INGOs have been barred from taking part in any kind of political activity or conducting any research or surveys irrelevant to their terms of reference.
Right of appeal will be applicable only in cases of cancellation of registration and in the case of any grievance, an INGO may file a representation before a special ministerial committee to be constituted and notified by the government.
The cancellation of registration will not be open for challenge in any court.
The INGOs will be obliged to provide any information that the government may require from time to time and those not fulfilling the disclosure requirements will be proceeded against. In addition, the organisations will be required to have their financial audit conducted by auditors approved by an INGO committee.
The INGOs receiving contributions from abroad or utilising foreign economic assistance will require prior registration exclusively with the interior ministry. The INGOs will not raise funds or receive donations locally, unless specifically authorised to do so.
The INGOs will also be required to declare all foreign funds, along with their terms and conditions, as well as details of all their bank accounts. They will only be allowed to establish headquarters and field offices, open bank accounts, and hire local employees after registration with the government. No unregistered INGO shall be allowed to function or have visas issued for its personnel.
The INGOs will not be able to provide monetary or material assistance to another INGO or local NGO prior to an approval by the government.
Under the policy, the foreign employees of the INGOs will have to seek permission from the ministry for visiting places outside their designated areas of activities, and violations may lead to the cancellation of their visas.
Published in Dawn, June 17th, 2017