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Tuesday Dec 23, 2014, Rabi-al-awwal 1, 1436 Hijri
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Pressure from vested groups... By Fazal

24 January, 2014

Most of the NGOs, barring a few exceptions, have always served their personal interests and the interests of their benefactors more than the interests of the country and the communities they were supposed to serve. To make the NGOs viable and effective bodies to serve the beneficiary communities in general and contribute towards national development proper regulating and monitoring of their activities should be done.

Like successive governments the present government has also announced its decision to regulate the NGOs working in the country. As reported in the print media lately, the government has made it mandatory for all foreign-funded NGOs, local or foreign, to register themselves with the Economic Affairs Division (EAD) of the Government of Pakistan. Not only this, they have also been asked to declare their bank accounts as well as the names of the donors who provide financial support to them.

According to the directive issued in this regard by the EAD, if NGOs operating in the country wish to utilise their foreign economic assistance including money, services and goods that emanate from outside Pakistan, within Pakistan, they will be bound to follow the new rules. The latest notification of the EAD clearly specifies that no unregistered non-governmental organization, receiving foreign funding, would be permitted to operate in the country. In addition to this, every NGO would be bound to declare to EAD all its foreign contributions, along with the terms and conditions of those contributions, as well as details of all the bank accounts maintained by them.

They will be bound by the recently framed rules to get their accounts audited annually by a registered firm of chartered accountancy. The registered NGOs will also furnish to the Economic Affairs Division (EAD) a copy of the audited annual statements, along with a certificate from the auditors, to the effect that the foreign contributions have been utilized for the objectives of their organizations. It is an undeniable fact that many foreign and local NGOs, barring a few exceptions, have been audaciously and assiduously engaged in serving their own mandated (hidden) agendas more than the interest of Pakistan. In fact many were found to be working against the interest of the country.

Unambiguously, the move of the incumbent government to closely regulate and monitor the activities of the NGOs in the country is a step in the right direction. The measures proposed to be taken under the new rules framed by EAD, to keep a tab on the NGOs, will certainly help in streamlining their activities and assure proper and productive use of their resources. It would also eradicate anti-Pakistan activities of the NGOs who are involved in them. What is, therefore, important for the Government of Pakistan is to ensure that the rules and regulations recently framed by it are implemented in letter and spirit. It should, under no circumstances, succumb to any pressure that is bound to come from vested groups in this regard.

M. FAZAL ELAHI
Islamabad

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