Pakistan, the expulsion of 18 foreign NGOs puts 11 million poor people at risk

International organizations have been granted a 60-day deadline to close all operations. In a note, the Ministry of the Interior states: "Expulsion is fully in line with national priorities".


Islamabad (AsiaNews) - The expulsion of 18 foreign NGOs by the government of Islamabad puts at risk the survival of 11 million people in need of help, state some Western diplomats to Reuters agency. Among the organizations forced to leave the country, there are World Vision, Plan International and ActionAid, which last week announced the closure of offices and the dismissal of employees.

The final decision on the removal of foreign NGOs dates back to two months ago, when the government decided to suspend their activities and set a time limit of 60 days to leave the country. Most of them work in the field of human rights and social support. 

Adriano Campolina, general secretary of ActionAid International, told AsiaNews that the news was leaked on the press and expressed great concern about the fate of the poor assisted by the association. In Pakistan, ActionAid assists 1.4 million poor people through development programs, children's education and women's empowerment. "Those most affected by our expulsion - he said - is the Pakistani society, the millions of poor people who depend on aid".

The groups that defend human rights complain about the lack of transparency that accompanied the process of revision of the concessions and subsequent expulsion of the NGOs. However, with a note released in recent weeks, the Ministry of the Interior says that the policies concerning international associations have been "fully in line" with the development priorities and needs at national level. "The Islamabad government – it added - appreciates the assistance provided by donor agencies".

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