Foreign Aid Organisations To Close

The Government of Pakistan has asked a number of foreign funded aid organisations to shut down their operations within the country in a matter of 60 days. This decision came after the authorities decided to tighten control on foreign charities operating in the country. The concern of the government is legitimate – namely that unmonitored foreign funded aid groups can function as a front for foreign intervention – however, out rightly shutting down operations also has a negative impact on several sectors of the society.

Back in 2012, the foreign funded charity called Save the Children came under fire when an intelligence report linked them with Shakeel Afridi - the doctor who CIA used for searching for Al-Qaeda leader Bin Laden under the garb of vaccinating the population. Despite denying these allegations, the foreigners working were forced to leave Pakistan and the government, since then, started working on hardening its policies for monitoring international aid groups. Hence, the government wanting to create a better scrutiny and registration process is justified but that process must be transparent and those who get rejected must be able to make an appeal. The 10 foreign groups in this case have not been given any reason as to why their application was rejected, nor are they allowed a platform to make a case for their argument.

This means that the government cannot reconsider its decision and this way, several organisations that have spent millions helping the Pakistani economy are left with no choice but to leave. And these millions have helped several Pakistanis on many fronts - from human rights, health care, small scale loans to even improving governmental functions. Taking out these organisations will push the progress back and leave that segment of the population entirely dependent on the government for help. Hence, the government due to the security purge must not sweep legitimate aid organisations with it, which is why we need an open and transparent process.

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