THE government has approved a policy for local NGOs/NPOs receiving foreign funding under which a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with the Ministry of Economic Affairs can be terminated under certain conditions, including withdrawal of security clearance by the relevant agency.
It has been promulgated to regulate and enhance the effectiveness of foreign funding being received, availed and utilized by NGOs and non-profit organizations (NPOs) registered in Pakistan.
Ch.Nisar Ali Khan, who served as Interior Minister from 2013 to 2017 during PML-N’s tenure, made tangible moves to regulate and monitor working of local and foreign NGOs and it was during that period that apart from other things, NGOs were required to sign an MoU with the Government.
It was also decided that foreign organizations will not be allowed to fund local NGOs nor collect funds in the country without permission of the Government of Pakistan, The issue of regulation of the NGOs assumed urgency because of the dubious working of some of them.
The latest policy is a welcome addition to the previous framework as it provides detailed procedure for signing of the MoU and also entails conditions under which the MoU could be terminated.
These include activities having implications for national security, religious intolerance, ethnic violence or hatred, involvement in money laundering, terror financing/activities, withdrawal of security clearance by a relevant agency, reasons to be intimated to concerned, undertakes any project in restricted and prohibited areas without permission and involvement in concealment of facts, submission of false information, forgery and tampering.
No doubt, a good beginning was made in the past but the fact remains there are still numerous NGOs involved in objectionable and questionable activities.
There are reasons to believe that many of them are not working for the causes they publicly espouse and instead are engaged in advancing foreign agenda through funding and collaboration of their local partners.
It is also a matter of concern that local individuals and NGOs willingly become tools in the hands of enemies of Pakistan for the sake of money.
Some of them fan sectarian sentiments and divide while others shamefully serve as pawns to strike at the very ideological foundations and religious/cultural identity of the country.
We, therefore, hope that the Interior Ministry will get regular feedback from relevant agencies and take codal action against those operating in violation of the relevant laws.