Associations must close the programs within 60 days; they can re-register after six months. ActionAid supports at least 1.4 million poor people in Pakistan, 130,000 students are studying in its schools.
Islamabad (AsiaNews) - The NGO ActionAid, together with other humanitarian organizations operating in Pakistan, will have to leave the country within 60 years, confirms Adriano Campolina, general secretary of ActionAid International, shares with AsiaNews.
Last week the Islamabad government decided to suspend the activities of at least 18 associations and set a 60-day term to leave the country. He said "The immediate victims will be the thousands of ordinary Pakistani families who ActionAid has been supporting to claim their rights and build a better life".
The activist reports that the NGO has followed all the procedures imposed by the Ministry of the Interior. "We have presented an appeal - he continues - but it was rejected. They only replied that we can submit the application again in six months ".
ActionAid is a humanitarian organization that operates in 23 districts across the country: it implements development programs, education projects, support for women, relief assistance during earthquakes, and fights child marriages. The general secretary is worried: "If the government does not review its decision, in fact we will be forced to leave within two months. Meanwhile, the only ones at risk are the poor we have been helping for over 20 years. In our schools 130,000 students study, our projects involve 1.4 million people in all ".
Campolina says that the decision to suspend the activities of foreign associations dates back to the beginning of the year. Then last week the government ordered to close the operations. "With our partners on the territory - he adds - we are trying to understand what is the best way to continue to get our support and not stop aid for those who really need it".
The order of the Pakistani authorities is motivated by the suspicions of intelligence espionage on the work of international organizations. Suspicions first arose in 2012, when a false vaccination program was carried out by a doctor linked to Save the Children, which actually served to cover the CIA investigations on the Taliban.