Rights Activists Slam Curbs on NGOs

LAHORE: In a statement issued Saturday, the Pakistan Human Rights Defenders Network (PHRDN) has condemned the rejection of registration of 42 Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) by the federal government.
It stated most of the NGOs affected by this decision are working for the welfare and rights of people and cannot be termed as a security risk. The decision, the statement said, is actually an attempt to curb civic liberties in the country and silence voices demanding citizens’ socio-economic and political rights.
The PHRDN representatives have termed this measure totally unacceptable and vowed to raise the demand for its reviewing NGO Policy. They stated the government must follow a proper procedure for scrutiny of NGOs and stop imposing blanket bans on them.
The PHRDN statement added that Pakistan is not progressing in the areas of basic education, primary health, poverty alleviation, women empowerment, minorities’ rights etc. The said organizations, it said, were making an invaluable contribution in this regard and extending a helping hand to the state striving to achieve its goals of human development. Instead of acknowledging their services, the state has come hard on these NGOs and deprived people of hope to see their lives change for the better.
The statement points out that the state’s policy towards NGOs is contrary to the spirit of the national legal framework as well as Pakistan’s international obligations. The representatives of civil society believe that the state cannot achieve its targets by sidelining civil society and employing arm-twisting tactics. Pakistan can progress by leaps and bounds if civil society is allowed to work for the uplift of people and facilitated rather than punished for caring about the masses, the statement added.
Press release
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