January 08, 2015Print : Top Story
ISLAMABAD: Under the National Action Plan to prevent the flow of money to terror outfits, the government will make it mandatory for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) seeking to annually utilise foreign donations worth Rs50 million or above to obtain a certificate from the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) otherwise they would not be permitted to use donation money, the sources told The News here on Wednesday.
Under the regulatory framework being fine-tuned on the directives of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to block terror financing, only certificate-holding domestic NGOs would be able to use the foreign contributions only for the purposes or locations permitted by the government.
Anyone who conceals or assists any “person” in concealing the use of any foreign contribution without registration would receive up to one year of imprisonment along with fines.The new framework would focus on strict monitoring of financial transactions from the foreign accounts, especially related to 27 US-based and 8 UK-based NGOs currently operating in Pakistan.
It is pertinent to mention here that the Karachi police raided an office of US-based NGO in November last year and arrested its seven staff members who were allegedly involved in digital mapping of sensitive installations of the city including PAF air base and nuclear plant.
The sources said some sections of the report of the Abbottabad Commission are also being reviewed in which questions were raised about the activities of certain NGOs and it was recommended that laws relating to foreign NGOs must be reviewed by the law ministry in order to meet present-day needs.
They claimed that the report of the Abbottabad Commission also pointed out that most NGOs have no internal mechanism to keep a watch on such elements that have infiltrated them for purposes unrelated to their projects in Pakistan.
The sources said some 12 institutions that currently possess the power to register NGOs have no proper knowledge about total volume of funds provided by the foreign donors due to lack of required mechanism.
They said it has been decided in principle that the relevant institutions would share information among them about details of flow of money given by the foreign donors including the Interior Ministry, the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Economic Affairs Division, Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR), Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Intelligence Bureau and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).
Some 45,000 registered organisations employ about 300,000 persons, utilise 200,000 full time staff, 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.
A recent study by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) said that six percent of them receive funds from foreign donors, seven percent from the government while the sources of income for the rest of the NGOs are not known.
It said 38 percent of organisations have not been registered under any law. Even those who have been registered are not necessarily subject to monitoring and evaluation under the existing regulatory system.
Despite repeated attempts by this correspondent both minister for information Pervaiz Rasheed who also holds portfolio of law and minister for finance Ishaq Dar were not available for comments.