Pursuant to notifications issued to 18 INGOs on 2 October 2018 about rejection of their registration applications and closure of operations, a number of media queries have been raised.
Broadly, three concerns have been highlighted. One, there is lack of clarity or insufficient information on grounds for rejection. Second, INGO registration process is non-transparent. Third, the decision on closure of operations would somehow constrain the space for INGOs and civil society in Pakistan.
We have carefully reviewed these concerns. Based on a detailed review, we wish to clarify the following points:
Firstly, we remain committed to pursuing an open and transparent INGO policy, which is underpinned by national laws, rules and regulations. There is an inter agency mechanism that is mandated inter alia to examine applications for registration, review necessary documentation, undertake monitoring and evaluation and attend to appeals.
Pakistan’s INGO policy framework is fully aligned with nationally determined development priorities and needs. We recognize and appreciate the assistance from the donor community and INGOs.
Secondly, in accordance with universally recognized principles and practice, every state has the right to define laws, policies and regulatory frameworks, keeping in view national context, circumstances and needs.
In terms of concerns regarding lack of clarity or insufficient information on grounds for rejection, we believe that such concerns primarily have arisen from misunderstanding. In our view, the grounds for rejection are clearly laid out in the policy document provisions.
With regard to transparency, our policy framework is very transparent. All information on registration requirements, required documentation, INGO policy document, MoU and details about funding, monitoring, disclosure, review and appeals mechanism are available on Ministry of Interior’s online portal. Moreover, all requirements of due process were met. Representatives of all 18 INGOs were given the right to appeal and the opportunity to provide additional details and discuss mutual concerns.
As for shrinking space, the evidence is contrary to assertions. Out of 141 that applied for registration since October 2015, applications of 74 INGOs have been approved. This figure shows over 50 % approval rate. These numbers do not count the applications of other INGOs which are being processed.
The approved INGOs are from all regions of the world. They are operating freely in Pakistan and contributing to realization of national development priorities.
15 November 2018
Last modified: January 23, 2020
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