Only Islamabad office of Save the Children to remain closed, says Nisar

Written by  Published by:Pakistan Views Tuesday, 16 June 2015 14:05

ISLAMABAD: A day after a letter emerged which allowed the international non-governmental organisation (INGO) Save the Children to resume its operations in the country, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Monday denied that the decision to close the aid organistaion had been withdrawn, but insisted that “only the Islamabad office” of the INGO would remain shut.”

“There is status quo on this issue,” he added, but did not give details on status of the INGO’s offices in other provinces.

Nisar, while talking to the media in his chamber at the National Assembly, confirmed that the government had halted any further action against any INGOs given that the prime minister had formed a high level committee to finalise a regulatory framework for such organisations.

“We will not close any INGO or put any such organization in red category until the final recommendations of an inter-ministerial committee formed by PM,” Nisar explained about the June 12 letter from the Ministry of Interior on suspending a previous order to shut down Save the Children.

Asked about the INGO’s suspected involvement in the Osama Bin Laden raid, Nisar said there was no evidence on record to support that claim. He added that Save the Children was a respected INGO which was registered in 1997, during the second Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, regime and in 2014 the organization’s ownership was spilt between three countries.

The interior minister added that many organizations are doing a good job and the government will facilitate such INGOs.

Nisar reiterated that all aid organisations operating in the country will be regularised and a registration checking process for this purpose would be introduced soon. He added said only the interior ministry can grant security clearance to a NGO while their monitoring is carried out by the Economic Affairs Division (EAD).

“Responsibility of registration of NGOs totally lies with the Economic Affairs Division and the ministry of interior only acts as a facilitator,” Nisar said, adding that there was a proposal to bring the control of NGOs under the interior ministry, as EAD was not relevant platform for this task.

In a separate move, a presser issued by PM office says that the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has directed the high level inter-ministerial committee, set up under Special Assistant to PM Tariq Fatemi for reviewing laws and regulations regarding accreditation and working conditions of INGOs working in Pakistan, to submit their report expeditiously.

Nisar hoped that once the committee forms a set of regulations, the international backlash would subside.

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