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Last updated 20 February 2013
The nonprofit sector in Pakistan has grown considerably in the recent past, in terms of both its size and its scope of work. Today, Pakistan’s 45,000 citizen organizations employ about 300,000 persons, utilize 200,000 full time volunteers, and engage in a wide set of activities ranging from service delivery to sophisticated financial services to technical advice in areas like agricultural extension, water and sanitation, and housing construction . Increasingly, nonprofit organizations (NPOs) are engaged in lobbying for legal and fiscal reform, and take a pro-active approach in defining issues for the national agenda. This new role is partly derived from the comparatively large volume of resources the nonprofit sector now commands.
A large proportion (38%) of citizen organizations is not registered under any law. Even those that are registered are not necessarily subject to monitoring and evaluation under the regulatory system. To address this issue, the Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy instituted an NPO certification regime for tax exemption and systems evaluation, which has been ongoing since 2003.
There is a discernible trend in Pakistan in which the State is moving away from being the monopoly provider of social services, and is creating an enabling environment for a variety of non-state actors to deliver a wide range of social services. This is a change of paradigm in the true sense of that overused term, and has profound implications for the regulatory role of the State and the nonprofit sector both.
Generally, the legal framework for NPOs may be divided into several categories. Some laws govern the registration, internal governance and accountability of organizations. Other laws govern how they are financed and managed. Still other laws govern the reporting relationship between the State and NPOs with respect to their operations or the manner in which they treat their employees. Taken as a whole, the legal framework can be called generally enabling for civil society and the activities of NPOs.
 Dimensions of Pakistan’s Nonprofit Sector: Preliminary Estimates; a Report of the Johns Hopkins University; Comparative Nonprofit Sector Project (Social Policy and Development Centre, Islamabad, May 2002)
|Organizational Forms||Associations, Trusts, Voluntary Social Welfare Agencies, etc.||Not-for-Profit Companies|
|Registration Body||Ministry of Social Welfare; District Governments; Provincial Social Welfare Departments and Department of Industries||Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP)|
|Barriers to Entry||Domestic NPOs: Registration under any of the four different laws with registration offices in different provinces.
Foreign NPOs: MoU with Economic Affairs Division (EAD)
|Barriers to Activities||No legal barriers assuming compliance with constitutional boundaries|
|Barriers to Speech and/or Advocacy||No legal barriers|
|Barriers to International Contact||No legal barriers|
|Barriers to Resources||No legal barriers|
|Population||176,242,949 (July 2009 est.)|
|Type of Government||Islamic Republic|
|Life Expectancy at Birth||64.49 years|
|Religious Groups||Muslim 95% (Sunni 75%, Shia 20%), other (includes Christian and Hindu) 5%|
|Ethnic Groups||Punjabi 44.68%, Pashtun (Pathan) 15.42%, Sindhi 14.1%, Sariaki 8.38%, Muhagirs 7.57%, Balochi 3.57%, other 6.28%|
|GDP per capita||$2,500 (2008 est.)|
Source: The World Factbook. Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency, 2009.
|Ranking Body||Rank||Ranking Scale
(best – worst possible)
|UN Human Development Index||141||1 – 182|
|World Bank Rule of Law Index||19.1||100 – 0|
|World Bank Voice & Accountability Index||19.2||100 – 0|
|Transparency International||139 (2009)||1 – 180|
|Freedom House: Freedom in the World||Status: Partly Free
Political Rights: 4
Civil Liberties: 5
|Free/Partly Free/Not Free
1 – 7
1 – 7
|Foreign Policy: Failed States Index
||10||177 – 1|
International and Regional Human Rights Agreements
|Key International Agreements||Ratification*||Year|
|International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)||No||--|
|Optional Protocol to ICCPR (ICCPR-OP1)||No||--|
|International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)||Yes||2008|
|Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize Convention||No||--|
|International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD)||Yes||1966|
|Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)||Yes||1996|
|Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women||No||--|
|Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)||Yes||1990|
|International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (ICRMW)||No||--|
|Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)||No||--|
|SAARC convention on regional arrangements for the promotion of child welfare in South Asia||Yes||2005|
|SAARC convention on preventing and combating trafficking in women and children for prostitution||Yes||2002|
* Category includes ratification, accession, or succession to the treaty
The Constitution of Pakistan (1973) recognizes the right of individuals to associate with others to pursue common goals as an inalienable fundamental right. Relevant constitutional provisions include:
Article 15 Freedom of movement: Every citizen shall have the right to remain in, and, subject to any reasonable restriction imposed by law in the public interest, enter and move freely throughout Pakistan and to reside and settle in any part thereof.
Article 16 Freedom of assembly: Every citizen shall have the right to assemble peacefully and without arms, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interest of public order.
Article 17 Freedom of association:
- Every citizen shall have the right to form associations or unions, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interest of  sovereignty or integrity of Pakistan, public order or morality.
- Every citizen, not being in the service of Pakistan, shall have the right to form or be a member of a political party, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interest of the sovereignty or integrity of Pakistan [14A] or public order and such law shall provide that where the Federal Government declare that any political party has been formed or is operating in a manner prejudicial to the sovereignty or integrity of Pakistan [14A] or public order, the Federal Government shall, within fifteen days of such declaration, refer the matter to the Supreme Court whose decision on such reference shall be final. [14B] Provided that no political party shall promote sectarian, ethnic, regional hatred or animosity, or be titled or constituted as a militant group or section.
- Every political party shall account for the source of its funds in accordance with law.
- Every political party shall, subject to law, hold intra-party elections to elect its office-bearers and party leaders.
Article 19 Freedom of speech: Every citizen shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression, and there shall be freedom of the press, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interest of the glory of Islam or the integrity, security or defence of Pakistan or any part thereof, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, commission of or incitement to an offence.
Article 20 Freedom of profess religion and to manage religious institutions: Subject to law, public order and morality:
- Every citizen shall have the right to profess, practice and propagate his religion; and
- Every religious denomination and every sect thereof shall have the right to establish, maintain and manage its religious institutions.
Article 25 Equality of citizens: 1)All citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law. 2)There shall be no discrimination on the basis of sex alone. 3)Nothing in this Article shall prevent the State from making any special provision for the protection of women and children.
National Laws and Regulations Affecting Sector
Laws governing civil society organizations that either explicitly require registration or implicitly confer recognition include:
- The Societies Registration Act, 1860
- The Religious Endowments Act, 1863
- The Trusts Act (II OF 1882)
- The Charitable Endowments Act (Vi Of 1890)
- The Mussalman Wakf Validating Act, 1913
- The Charitable and Religious Trusts Act, 1920
- The Mussalman Wakf Act, 1923
- The Cooperative Societies Act, 1925
- The Mussalman Validation Act, 1930
- The Voluntary Social Welfare Agencies (Registration And Control Ordinance 1961)
- The Companies Ordinance 1984
- The Local Government Ordinance, 2001
- Income Tax Ordinance 2001
Senator Tariq Azeem of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML) introduced the Regulations of Foreign Contributions Act 2012, which he said is consistent with the regulations of “many countries in the world,” including Egypt, which arrested 27 NGO representatives in January 2012, and India, which banned several NGOs in 2012. The Bill was expected to go to the lower house for voting and, if approved, would have become an Act of Parliament. However, the bill lapsed with the completion of Mr. Azeem’s tenure as Senator. At that time, the Senate standing committee on Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs, Statistics, P&D and Privatization had already received comments on the bill from various stakeholders and, and except few technical issues, the bill was ready to be submitted for legislation. Concerned government officials believe that there is a high likelihood that another member of the Senate will revive the bill.
Senator Azeem argued that NGOs are utilizing foreign aid money for their own agenda and even against the public interest. However, the scope of the Bill is extremely broad and could starve numerous NGOs of the funds they need to survive.
According to the provisions of the Bill:
- NGOs must receive advance governmental permission to receive foreign contributions. “No NGO/person shall accept a foreign contribution unless such NGO/person obtains a certificate of registration from the Federal Government.” (Article 6)
- The certificate of registration is valid for only five years. “The certificate granted ... shall be valid for a period of five years and the prior permission shall be valid for the specific purpose or specific amount of foreign contribution proposed to be received, as the case may be.” (Article 7(6))
- The grounds for government review of an application for a certificate to receive a foreign contribution are vague. The certificate may be granted if the government, after making such inquiry as it “deems fit,” is “of the opinion that the conditions specified in sub-section (4) are satisfied.” The “conditions in sub-section (4)” include, among others, that the applicant “is not likely to use the foreign contribution for personal gains or divert it for undesirable purposes;” that the applicant “has prepared a reasonable project for the benefit of the society for which the foreign contribution is proposed to be utilised;” and that the applicant “is not likely to affect prejudicially … the sovereignty and integrity of Pakistan,” “the security, strategic, scientific or economic interest of the State,” “the public interest,” or “friendly relations with any foreign state.” (Article 7(3, 4))
- Administrative expenses may not exceed 20% of the contribution. “Every NGO/person, who is registered and granted a certificate or given prior permission under this Act and receives any foreign contribution ... (b) shall not defray as far as possible such sum, not exceeding twenty percent (20%) of such contribution, received in a financial year, to meet administrative expenses.” (Article 4)
- The government has the authority to cancel the certificate directly. “The Federal Government may, if it is satisfied after making such inquiry as it may deem fit, by an order, cancel the certificate if — … (b) the holder of the certificate has violated any of the terms and conditions of the certificate or renewal thereof; or (c) the holder of certificate has violated any of the provisions of this Act or rules or order made thereunder.” Moreover, “[a]ny NGO/person whose certificate has been cancelled under this section shall not be eligible for registration or grant of prior permission for a period of three years from the date of cancellation of such certificate.” (Article 9)
- The government has broad powers of inspection. “If the Federal Government has, for any reason, to be recorded in writing, any ground to suspect that any provision of this Act has been or is being, contravened by— (a) any person; or (b) any organisation; or (c) any association,it may, by general or special order, authorise a gazetted officer under the Federal Government or such other officer or authority or organisation, as it may think fit (hereinafter referred to as the inspecting officer), to inspect any account or record maintained by such NGO, person, organisation or association, as the case may be, and thereupon every such inspecting officer shall have the right to enter in or upon any premises at any reasonable hour, before sunset and after sunrise, for the purpose of inspecting the said account or record.” (Article 15) There seem to be no procedural safeguards, such as requiring the government to receive a court order or provide advance notice to the person/NGO, relating to the inspection process.
- Criminal penalties may apply for violations of the law’s provisions. The Bill provides up to three years imprisonment for anyone who accepts or assists an NGO/person to accept a foreign contribution in contravention of a provision of the Bill. Second-time offences can result in up to five years imprisonment. (Article 24) “Where an offence under this Act or any rule or order made thereunder has been committed by an NGO, any person who, at the time the offence was committed, was in charge of, and was responsible to, the NGO for the conduct of the business of the NGO shall be deemed to be guilty of the offence.” (Article 28)
The legal framework in Pakistan recognizes four primary forms of not-for-profit organization (NPO).
The Societies Registration Act, 1860 states that a society can be formed and registered if its purpose is to promote any one or more of the following activities:
- i. Science;
- ii. Literature;
- iii. Fine arts;
- iv. Instruction and the diffusion of useful knowledge;
- v. Diffusion of political education;
- vi. Foundation or maintenance of libraries or reading rooms for use among members or open to the public;
- vii. Public museums and galleries of paintings;
- viii. Work of art;
- ix. Collection of natural history;
- x. Mechanical and philosophical inventions;
- xi. Instruments or designs; and
- xii. Educational and medical services.
A public charitable trust, under the Trusts Act, 1882,unlike other trusts created for the benefit of specific individuals, is for the benefit of society generally or for certain sections of society. Charitable objectives can be classified under the following divisions:
- i. Advancement of religion;
- ii. Advancement of knowledge;
- iii. Advancement of commerce, health and safety of the public; and
- iv. Advancement of any other object beneficial to mankind.
The Voluntary Social Welfare Agencies Registration and Control Ordinance, 1961states that a Voluntary Social Welfare Agency is an organization or undertaking established by people of their own free will for the sole objective of providing welfare services in any one or more of the following fields:
- i. Child, youth and women’s welfare;
- ii. Welfare of the physically and mentally challenged;
- iii. Family planning;
- iv. Social education;
- v. Rehabilitation and welfare of patients;
- vi. Welfare of juvenile delinquents;
- vii. Rehabilitation and welfare of released prisoners;
- viii. Welfare of socially handicapped;
- ix. Welfare for the elderly and destitute;
- x. Recreational programmes to ward off people from anti-social activities;
- xi. Training in social work; and
- xii. Coordination of social welfare agencies.
A nonprofit company may seek registration under the Companies Ordinance, 1984if it is established for furthering the development of:
- i. Commerce;
- ii. Art;
- iii. Science;
- iv. Religion;
- v. Sports;
- vi. Social services;
- vii. Charity; or
- viii. Any other ‘Useful’ objective.
Public Benefit Status
Depending on the organizational form, NPOs are free to pursue both member benefit purposes and public benefit purposes.
Tax exemptions and certain other fiscal benefits are available to certain NPOs, depending on their purposes and activities. Generally, in order to qualify for tax exempt status, the NPO must confer and be seen to confer benefits to society as a whole and not to any particular segment of society.
Barriers to Entry
Domestic NPOs may register under any of the four different laws with registration offices in different provinces. Foreign NPOs sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Economic Affairs Division (EAD) in order to receive recognized legal status for their activities. If an INGO is registered with the EAD (or signs an MoU with the EAD), It need not to be registered under any other NGO registration laws. The MoU with the EAD provides legal status to an INGO in Pakistan to operate within the ambit of its agreement with EAD.
Barriers to Operational Activity
There are no legal barriers regarding an organization's operational activity. NPOs are free to operate according to their approved charter.
Barriers to Speech / Advocacy
There are no legal barriers restricting the expressive activities of nonprofit organizations. NPOs are allowed to publish critical material. However, some reasonable limitations are imposed by law in the interest of religion, security and/or defense of the state, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency and morality, or incitement to an offence.
In addition, NPOs dedicated to issues of female education and empowerment have faced threats, attacks, and a number of murders by Islamic extremists, particularly in the north. While this is not a legal barrier per se, there is a role for the State in protecting citizens from such criminal attacks. Moreover, this underscores the point that there are cultural barriers, more than legal barriers, which constrain the work of some NPOs in some parts of Pakistan.
Barriers to International Contact
There are no legal barriers to international communication and contacts.
Barriers to Resources
There are no legal barriers to resources for NPOs in Pakistan.
|UN Universal Periodic Review Reports||Pakistan
Compilation of UN information
Summary of stakeholders' information
Report of the Working Group
Decision on the Outcome
Draft Report on the eighth session of the Human Rights Council
|Reports of UN Special Rapporteurs|
|U.S. State Department||2008 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Pakistan
Advancing Freedom and Democracy Reports, 2009
|Failed States Index Reports||Foreign Policy: Failed States Index 2012|
|IMF Country Reports||Pakistan and the IMF|
|International Commission of Jurists||Not available|
|International Center for Not-for-Profit Law Online Library|
While we aim to maintain information that is as current as possible, we realize that situations can rapidly change. If you are aware of any additional information or inaccuracies on this page, please keep us informed; write to ICNL at email@example.com.
Security needed for rights activists in KP, Fata (February 2013)
Women rights activists demanded strict security for human rights defenders in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the adjoining Federally Administered Tribal Areas.The demand was made during a function held to pay tribute to campaigners for women rights in connection with National Women Day.The program was jointly organised by ActionAid, Blue Veins and Pakhtunkhwa Civil Society Network to honour women, who had raised their voice for human rights.Women politicians, journalists and social activists were also awarded for their role in defending human rights. http://dawn.com/2013/02/13/security-for-rights-activists-in-kp-fata-demanded/
Ten Pakistani journalists killed in 2012 (February 2013)
2012 was a deadly year for journalists and netizens in countries where telling the truth can get you killed. In the highest toll since Reporters Without Borders has kept track, 90 journalists, six media assistants and 47 netizens and citizen journalists were killed worldwide last year. Syria and Somalia led the list, with 18 deaths each, followed by Pakistan with 10 and Mexico with six.
"Unauthorized" operations of NGOs in Pakistan (December 2012)
The "dubious activities" of foreign NGOs and even some of Pakistan's own are a cause of discomfort for all Pakistanis and the state, according to an article in Pakistan Today. Therefore, the state must move to stop them working on their agendas exceeding their mandates, the article says.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Downplays Human Rights Violations (November 2012)
Members of civil society in Pakistan have accused Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar of downplaying the serious human rights violations currently taking place in Balochistan during her presentation to the UN Universal Periodic Review of Pakistan on 30 October 2012
CIVICUS calls on Pakistan to implement UPR recommendations (November 2012)
Global civil society network CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation urges the government of Pakistan to take urgent action to address human rights concerns raised by UN Member States on 30 October 2012 during the 14th Session of Universal Period Review (UPR).Read the statement here.
Human Rights Council elections: Pander time (November 2012)
On November 12, 2012, 18 new members were elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council, which the UN says is the forum "all victims of human rights abuses should be able to look to... as a springboard for action." But the election process was emblematic of the betrayal of core human rights principles in the face of challenges from authoritarian states, and the disintegration of the idea of human rights itself in the main institution charged with defending it. The newly elected members include Pakistan, Venezuela and others with serious human rights deficits. A majority of the Council -- 24 of 47 members -- is now composed of states that are unfree or only partially free according to rankings by the nongovernmental organization Freedom House. None of the members from Africa are free, while three of five Asian members are only partially free. A majority of the Council are states from the "Global South."
CIVICUS Letter to the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Pakistan (November 2012)
Civicus writes: "We are gravely concerned by the growing number of attacks on activists campaigning for Women’s Rights in the Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA) of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province in Pakistan, especially in the districts of Swat and Kohistan. In particular, we would like to bring your urgent attention to the shooting of 14 year old Malala Yousafzai whose targeting by the Taliban in Swat, for standing up for her right to education, has appalled people around the world."
Pakistan Foreign Minister touts human rights record at UN (October 2012)
Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar told the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday that Pakistan "is a democratic, pluralistic and progressive state" that is committed to protecting its citizens' human rights. But the U.S., British, and European ambassadors present at the meeting pushed back on Khar's statements, pointing out that Pakistan has failed to protect minorities, the military is often used to stifle dissent, and human trafficking is allowed to flourish with little response.
Countering violent narratives through cooperation with Pakistani civil society(October 2012)
Escalating violence across Pakistan has drawn attention to the need for engagement with Muslim networks and civil society organizations that can effectively counter radical narratives and decrease the pool of recruits for terrorists. In Pakistan’s “Civil Society: Alternative Channels to Countering Violent Extremism”, the World Organization for Resource Development and Education (WORDE), argues that over the last decade, U.S. policymakers have focused most of their attention on engaging with government, military, and intelligence actors, to the exclusion of civil society groups.
Need to redefine and restructure civil society framework(October 2012)
The major concern of the civil society organisations should be to establish their legitimacy and credibility that comes through actions and a process of struggle against the ruling elite. There is a need to re-define and re-structure the civil society framework in the country through a consultative process for future guidelines and directions.
Civil society disappointed on state of human rights (October 2012)
The civil society of Pakistan expressed disappointment on the government’s version of the state of human rights in Pakistan. At the United Nations Human Rights Council for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) the civil society called on the members of the council to take serious note of the state’s failure to respect the global human rights mechanisms.
Freedom of expression is good, but misuse a crime (September 2012)
Addressing the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly, President Zardari urged the UN member states to immediately address the concerns of the world’s Muslims and the widening rift to enable the comity of nations to be one again. Many human rights groups, however, disagree with the President's views on limiting freedom of expression since such limits on expression are often abused.
Foreign NGO workers face expulsion (September 2012)
The refusal by the interior ministry to extend visas of six expatriates working for Save the Children has caused concern among international non-government organizations, especially donor agencies.
NGOs call for end to threats against civil society activists (September 2012)
A special meeting of End Violence against Women and Girls Alliance’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA chapter and Pakhtunkhwa Civil Society Network (PCSN) was held to discuss issues related to the recent wave of threats to NGOs and their employees. The participants demanded of the government take effective steps for curbing threats to the life of human rights activists and journalists. The alliance called upon the state to adopt measures necessary to prevent recurrence of threats. It said that the state machinery must protect the individuals, groups, and organizations of civil society dedicated to the promotion and protection of fundamental rights and liberties. The participants urged the media to report on issues keeping in view the rule of objectivity, as irresponsible reports could risk the life and work of human rights activists.
Activities of international NGOs to be strictly regulated (August 2012)
Given growing security concerns, the government has decided to strictly regulate the activities of International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs). A proposed monitoring draft for this purpose is being evaluated by the concerned authorities before its final approval.
Another national organization goes down the drain (August 2012)
Following the path of many national organizations and state-led initiatives, the Trust for Voluntary Organizations (TVO), an indigenous grant-making facility created in 1990 following an agreement between the governments of Pakistan and the United States of America to establish a Special Development Fund (SDF), is slowly dying an unnatural death due to bureaucratic neglect, misappropriation of funds and cronyism.
Pakistan increasingly dangerous for CSO work (July 2012)
The work of civil society activists and independent journalists is becoming increasingly dangerous in Pakistan. On July 4, 2012, women’s rights activist Farida Afridi was shot dead by gunmen in the Khyber Agency of the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) of Pakistan. Farida worked for the Society for Appraisal and Women Empowerment in Rural Areas, a CSO focusing on the welfare and the rights of women. She had been threatened by extremist groups to stop her activities as a human rights defender prior to her death.
Pakistan Government must protect civil society before it's too late (July 2012)
CIVICUS and the Pakistan women’s rights group Blue Veins strongly condemn attacks on human rights defenders in Pakistan and urge Pakistan’s government to uphold its responsibility to protect civil society. The work of civil society activists and independent journalists is becoming increasingly dangerous in Pakistan, according to a recent press release.
Laws pertaining to Access to Information not enforced in Pakistan (July 2012)
The Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) conducted a nationwide survey to study the effectiveness of the laws pertaining to access to information, but ended up finding that out of 54 departments approached only two departments provided the required information.
NGOs in northern Pakistan suspend work after clerics' fatwa declaring activities 'haram' (July 2012)
NGOs in Pakistan's Kohistan district have suspended their activities and will not resume their work unless the region's administration guarantees their security. The move came after clerics in Kohistan refused to reverse their 'final edict' against NGOs operating in the area, describing their activities as 'haram'.
Concern over attacks on aid workers (May 2012)
Attacks on humanitarian workers in Pakistan have increased in the last four years, with five personnel abducted in the first two months of 2012, and three killed in separate incidents in Balochistan, Sindh and Punjab Provinces, the Pakistan Humanitarian Forum (PHF) has warned.
Pakistani Prime Minister praises NGOs at conference on the “Role of international NGOs in relief and development in Pakistan” (April 2012)
Muslim Hands International, an NGO with operations in 40 countries in Europe, Africa and Asia, held a conference at which Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani said that “NGOs can play a very vital role in achieving the goal of development,” and assured his government's support of welfare-oriented NGOs. Prime Minister Gilani said that for countries like Pakistan, which has been combating militancy and terrorism, and whose economy has been affected due to severe energy shortages and natural disasters, the role of NGOs like Muslim Hands International was crucial to offset these negative effects. His statements are in contrast to members of Pakistan’s parliament who have recently said that NGOs are utilizing foreign aid money for their own agenda and even against the public interest.
Pakistani CSOs urge the Maldives not to follow Pakistan's example after political crisis (April 2012)
Civil society organizations in Pakistan have expressed alarm over the political crisis in the Maldives, urging the country not to make the same mistakes as Pakistan and calling for the Maldives’ suspension from SAARC until democracy is restored. The Pakistani civil society representatives warned that the Maldives was now following the same path of decline that had mired Pakistan in political, religious and economic turmoil.
NGO goes to court seeking witness protection laws (February 2012)
Top government and police officials have been roped in to a petition that takes up the creation of a witness protection programme for Sindh, seen by many as a solution to the low conviction rate. Unlike in other parts of the world, Pakistan does not have a law in this area. Witnesses are loathe to expose themselves to the high risk of giving incriminating testimonies as either they or their families are fatally attacked, many times on the premises of the court as has been seen in karo kari cases. This is the point argued by the person who filed the petition, Syed Muhammad Iqbal Kazmi of the Human Rights Commission South Asia, not to be mistaken for the HRCP. When it comes to heinous offences, or terrorism, prosecution witnesses are often threatened by the parties standing trial or the powerful political groups that support them. Thus, in his petition, he has appealed to the Sindh High Court for it to order the federal and provincial governments to come up with laws to tackle this issue.
Role of civil society in budget process (January 2012)
Since 1990s, civil society organizations have started influencing the budget formulation in few developing countries. The inclusiveness in the budget formulation acknowledges the value due to public oversight and improved commitment towards pro-poor choices. The civil society budget initiatives are also supplemented by the critical media coverage.
Pakistanis' distrust of foreigners impedes aid groups (January 2012)
International aid groups say they're under siege in Pakistan, demonized by hard-line Islamists, viewed as spies by suspicious Pakistanis and, now, increasingly sidelined by the government. The groups report that in the last year, they began to feel unwanted in the country, and in some cases persecuted. Nongovernmental organization visa requests languished or were outright rejected. New travel restrictions hampered aid workers' movement. Some workers were arrested and harassed.
PPP, civil society hold pro-democracy demonstrations (January 2012)
The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and civil society organisations on Thursday organised protest demonstrations in favour of the democratic system in Pakistan. They strongly opposed any unconstitutional move from any state institution as well as the “judicial activism” against the PPP-led government, keeping in view the geo-political and socio-economic situation in the country.
HRCP presents bleak picture of human rights in 2010-2011 (December 2011)
Corporate sector must strengthen institutional mechanism (December 2011)
Challenges to Pakistan’s democracy (September 2011)
Eight Pakistanis working for US NGO kidnapped (July 2011)
A paradox retarding Pakistan’s democracy? (April 2011)
NGOs criticise govt’s flood relief efforts (December 2010)
The foregoing information was collected by the ICNL NGO Law Monitor partner in Pakistan, the Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy.