NEWS & VIEWS
PAKISTAN is confronted with multi-faceted crisis and challenges vis-a-vis dismal economic
situation, threats to internal and external security, politicos at loggerheads with each other, and some of them trying to make judiciary and military controversial. However, the redeeming feature is that civil and military leadership is united so far as threats from the US are concerned. Whereas enemies of Pakistan continue with their sinister designs and plans to destablise our beloved country, Pakistan has taken measures to frustrate their designs that have produced fruitful results. In Balochistan, hundreds of fararis and scores of commanders left the terror outfits and surrendered to the army. In Sindh, Zafar Ali Rajper alias Zafar Sindhi, a senior activist of Jeay Sindh Muttehida Mahaz (JSMM) held a press conference at Press Club Bhiria Road on December 02, 2017 and announced his disassociation with the JSMM.
Hence; there is ray of hope amidst gloom. Zafar Rajper vowed that he will not be a part of any sub-nationalist party or any other outfit to live a life of a law-abiding citizen. Like Balochistan and FATA, RAW has been active in Sindh province as well. However, law-enforcing agencies with the support of the people of Sindh have frustrated enemies’ designs. Resignations of JSMM members and leaders in large numbers indicate that lower rank sincere workers are fed-up with the black mailing policies of the party. In Gilgit-Baltistan also, India is trying to stir contradictions; but people of GB would not be taken in by India’s shenanigans. They are aware of the atrocities perpetrated by Indian security forces on the Kashmiris, and that there is not a single house in IHK which has not been affected by the brutal and heinous acts of Indian security forces.
After attack on a church in Quetta last month, the government ordered closure of some NGOs, which is indeed a commendable step. It must have been done based on authentic information regarding true motives of so-called friends of humanity. Pakistan must not be allowed to become a “free for all” state where such anti-state elements can operate with impunity. A deep ingress in Pakistan by the infamous Black Water in the garb of NGOs is a case in point. Anti-CPEC tirade appearing in London and other countries shows the length to which Indians are going in their nefarious designs to sabotage the project. Of course, US-India nexus is at work against the CPEC. However, they are bound to fail, as Pakistan and China stand firm in their resolve to see through and surmount any number of challenges thrown by the anti-Pakistan and anti-China forces.
On December 22, 2017, Pakistan ordered 27 international aid groups to shut down for working in unauthorised areas. The Ministry of Interior gave the 27 NGOs 90 days to conclude operations, and among those being expelled are Action Aid, World Vision, Plan International, Trocaire, Pathfinder International, Danish Refugee Council, George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, Oxfam Novib, and Marie Stopes. Talal Chaudhry, Pakistan’s Minister of State for Interior told foreign news agency the reason for shutting down the NGOs. He said: “They were doing work in Pakistan, which is beyond their mandate and for which they have no legal justification”. He declined to give specific examples, but said the targeted NGOs spend all their money on administration rather spending on the impoverished section of society. They were not doing the work they said they were doing, and were working in areas where they were not authorized operate.
He went on to say that growth of NGOs has ballooned in the country after the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States. Many organizations arrived to provide humanitarian assistance after Islamabad allied itself with the United States in what was then known as the global war on terror. There are a number of NGOs that are being used by the enemies of Pakistan whereby they indulge in activities that run counter to Pakistan’s national interests. Pakistan has hardened its stance towards domestic and international NGOs in recent years, requiring of them to go through the registration process and come clean if they wish to continue working in the country. The NGO ‘Save the Children’ aid group had come under the government’s radar when it was linked to a Pakistani doctor recruited by the CIA to help in the hunt that led to the killing of al Qaeda militant leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad.
A day after authorities sealed the Islamabad offices of international aid group namely ‘Save the Children’, and ordered to leave the country in June 2015, then interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had said: “Some international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Pakistan are working against the country, which are being backed by the United States, Israel and India.” According to the BBC report, Pakistan had previously linked the charity to the fake vaccination program used by the CIA to track down Osama Bin Laden. Pakistan is not alone in cracking down on foreign NGOs. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has since 2014 tightened surveillance of non-profit groups, saying they were acting against India’s national interests. Thousands of foreign-funded charities’ licenses have been cancelled In India for misreporting donations. In China, a law grants broad powers to police to question NGO workers, monitor their finances, regulate their work, and if found going beyond their mandate shut down their offices.
—The writer is a senior journalist based in Lahore.