US ‘regrets’ Pakistan clampdown on international NGOs

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US ‘regrets’ Pakistan clampdown on international NGOs

WASHINGTON: US State Department spokeswoman, Heather Nauert, on Wednesday said the United States “regrets” Pakistan’s decision to expel 18 international ‘aid agencies’ from the country.
Nauert, in a statement, said many of the 18 groups had worked in the country for years, employing thousands of Pakistanis and working to improve the lives of ordinary people.
A total of 27 international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) received expulsion orders late last year, but 18 appealed.
According to reports, affected NGOs include World Vision, Pathfinder, Plan International, Trocaire and Saferworld. Another group, ActionAid, last week said it was closing offices and laying off staff after the government told it to halt operations and leave.
The Interior Ministry on Oct 17 had barred 18 International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs) from working in Pakistan and ordered them to leave the country within 60 days.
The 18 banned NGOs included nine from the United States, three United Kingdom and two from Holland, in addition to one each from Ireland, Denmark, Italy and Switzerland.
The Ministry has allowed 141 NGOs to continue their activities, while directing 72 NGOs to complete their documentations.
As per the instructions issued by the ministry, it will be mandatory for all NGOs to acquire an annual audit from the audit firm of the interior ministry. A total of 68 NGOs have accepted the rules and regulations of Pakistan.

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