Development sector in Pakistan
Umer Inam (Freelance Journalist)
Pakistan is one of countries with the most international NGOs in the world. Some non-governmental organizations in Pakistan were working for the countries with whom Islamabad had bitter relations. Recently, Authorities in Pakistan have tightened the noose around non-governmental organizations who are working against the national interests. Pakistan has enacted tough and new policies on foreign-funded NGOs because of providing cover for foreign agendas. All social work and NGOs are welcomed in Pakistan, but they need to understand country’s laws and constitution. The government of Pakistan should not allow any NGO to work “under the table and anti-state” activities.
Seven years ago, the government started crackdown against international NGOs and shutdown that received overseas funds, promoted the enemy agendas and worked against the state. For example, the one named “Save the Children” had been in watch list since 2012 when some facts reveled it’s involvement in intelligence operations and in the CIA fake vaccination campaign. In 2012, the Pakistani government suspended the organization and ordered foreign workers of Save the Children to leave the country within a week.
The western media is still trying to defame Pakistan, they accused that our government and military wants to control civil society. They accuse the country of lacking the basic democracy but reality is quite opposite, our government and military never tried to fix a civil society outfit and supported democratic rights.
Recently, the increasing number of NGOs with complex backgrounds are spreading across Pakistan again. The NGOs are immensely unpopular and are resented quite widely because of corruption, self-serving agendas and unaccountability. Behind their shady activities, they are playing against state’s national interests. What is happening in Balochistan and in the northwestern areas of the country in the name of social work and development is not only shady but also dangerous. The civil society should be determined to expose such questionable work.
In the name of governmental transparency and accountability, National Endowment for Democracy is working in Pakistan. International media alleges openly that NED is a CIA front which operates to serve CIA’s interests. These NGOs involve young activists and train them in liberal perspective. These youngsters are later connected with decision-makers to develop action plans which usually cover religion, media, political parties and ethnic minorities. They have very captivating and emerging projects to offer like Education Reforms, Minority’s Political Participation, Awareness and Management of Natural Resources, Civic Innovation and Engagement through Technology but these projects always have some shady activities along with.
In the name of Protecting Religious Minority Rights in Balochistan and Sindh, they are spreading extremism. Is it to support Pakistan development under the flag of democracy or to cultivate agenda based forces and spy on Pak? Interestingly, they are focused on Pakistan only, It’s weird that our neighboring India has no such huge number of NGOs.The growing divergence between United State and Pakistan has taken an already uneasy alliance to a point of falling-out. The tightened US-Pakistan relationship are because of the Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan peace.
On US withdrawal from Afghanistan and Pakistan’s refusal to share airbases with it is another huge reason behind the tension. Pakistan has clarity that it cannot afford further mess at home and long-term implications for the regional security. Pakistan’s foreign policy towards USA is very clear, it would be on equal term and partnership. The cloak and dagger game is over in Pakistan keeping in mind that the country is losing international aid and support.
Now that with given circumstances, to a large extent Pakistan has very clear foreign Policy towards USA and with all possibilities they would increasingly focus on Pak through NGOs tarnishing the country’s image. Those NGOs to promote the enemy agenda in a special pattern. We should be attentive and monitor NGOs’ funding and international donors. The government to increase check on international cooperation. To achieve this, a transparent NGO regime is required in the Pakistan. It will reconnect Pakistan to global Community and will end the foreign operations here.