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March 29, 2019

German NGO marks closure of operation


March 29, 2019

Islamabad : The guests, staff and environmental community of the federal capital marked the closure of Henrich Boll Stiftung which is closing its operations in Pakistan as it declined to function under new conditions.

It worked in Pakistan for the last 25 years first from Lahore and then from Islamabad. HBS is a foundation affiliated with Greens Party in Germany.

Speaking at the farewell function, German Ambassador Martin Kobler said that HBS is closing its office because the foundation and the government could not agree on a workable formula.

Mr Kobler said that it is a sad moment as Pakistan is the first country the foundation had to withdraw. He said space for civil society is shrinking here. He said that to demonstrate solidarity with civil society, this is the time to enter Pakistan. He said it is a tragic incident that HBS is leaving now when there is 10 billion tree agenda.

He said that he loved Pakistan which has a friendly population. I wish you all the best. I wish best of luck in future.

The envoy was presented flowers bouquets for fighting the HBS case.

Sameena Durrani, Acting Deputy Director, HBS, thanking the participants, said we tried our best for a better future.

Mome Saleem, Chief Ecology Department, HBS, hoped that new organisations will bloom bringing back the agenda and we will continue the environmental work HBS was working on. She also said that such organisations foster dialogue which is important for the wellbeing of a society.

HBS Asia Desk Senior Director Jost Pachaly said that we will come up some day with good ideas and a better change in another way in Pakistan. He was proud for the achievements in the last 25 years. He said that we worked in the fields from environment, gender to democracy and we shared any engagement that was visualised. He also mentioned the contribution of civil society by HBS in Pakistan. He said that the civil society in Pakistan has achieved a lot but there is still a long way to go.

Taking forward the legacy of HBS, one of the active members of Green Foundation is planning to found an organisation which will focus on peace, democracy and environment and discussed it with her colleagues in the outgoing foundation.

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