International NGOs asked to leave Pakistan

International NGOs asked to leave Pakistan

Agency News

Islamabad, Oct 5: International NGOs have been asked by Pakistan to terminate their operations and leave the country within 60 days.

One of the organisations affected by the order, ActionAid said the move was a part of a "worrying escalation of recent attacks on civil society" in Pakistan, a report in the BBC said.

The Interior Ministry of Pakistan did not comment on the move. According to reports, in a letter addressed to ActionAid, the organisation could "re-apply for registration" in six months' time.

The order by the Pakistan government comes in the wake of intensifying concerns related to freedom of expression in the country, as also rising apprehensions of the human rights activists and press freedom campaigners.

Following reports about a fake vaccination programme being run in the country, to track Osama bin laden by the CIA emerged in 2011, the Pakistani intelligence services have been viewing these NGOs with rising scepticism.

Officials had earlier accused "Save the Children" as having links to the plan. However, the charity denied the allegations.

Earlier in 2017, ActionAid and several other international NGOs were ordered to leave Pakistan, but after being pressured by the Western governments, they were allowed to stay in the country while they were appealing against the decision.

Though both ActionAid and Plan International confirmed that they had received letters informing them about their appeal being unsuccessful, but the organisations said that no reasons were cited for the same. (UNI)