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Citizens for Justice and Peace

Pakistan pushes out several foreign aid groups

19, Dec 2017 | CJP Team

The Guardian has reported that, in recent days, Pakistan’s interior ministry has issued letters to 29 international non-government organisations (INGOs) directing them to shutter their offices and leave the country within 60 days, by the end of January. These include ActionAid, which works against injustice and poverty, and Marie Stopes International, which supplies contraception and abortion services. In 2015, Pakistan revealed a stringent registration policy for groups to function and fundraise in the country. This move came after a flurry of accusations about charitable activities being connected to anti-government activities. That year, Pakistan closed down Islamabad’s Save the Children office after alleging it engaged in “anti-Pakistan” activities. In November 2017, Reuters reported that Pakistan shut down the last Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) facility in the tribal areas near its border with Afghanistan; previously two other MSF facilities were ordered to be closed. No reason appears to have been given for the government’s latest decision. Human Rights Watch’s Asia director, Brad Adams, told The Guardian, “The Pakistani government’s closure of international organisations without allowing these decisions to be contested shows disturbing disregard for the wellbeing of ordinary Pakistanis who benefit from them.” 

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