ISLAMABAD - Following international backlash over the government’s decision to introduce tough regulations for international non-government organisations working in Pakistan, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal Monday directed the interior ministry to remove all obstacles in registration process of those international aid groups that are authentic and active.

"We believe in internationalism. The INGOs will have to ensure transparency," a spokesperson of the interior ministry said while quoting the minister. The interior minister said this following his directions that no hurdles should be created in the registration process of those INGOs which are actively participating in the development sector of the country.

The minister said that Pakistan valued services of authentic INGOs in development sector.

The Ministry of Interior recently banned 27 INGOs halting their operations in Pakistan under a policy introduced in 2015.However, the ministry says, all such INGOs have the right to appeal against the decision before a committee headed by interior minister himself.

State Minister for Interior Talal Chaudhry, last month, had informed the Senate that some INGOs had been denied registration under the INGOs policy because of their non-responsiveness, non-substantive projects and security concerns.

Under the new policy, all INGOs are required to have mandatory registration afresh with the interior ministry otherwise they would not be allowed to operate in the country. He had said the government was giving top priority to matters of national security and issues had come under observation with regard to working of some INGOs.

As many as 139 INGOs had applied for registration with the Ministry of Interior under the new policy and out of these, 66 had been allowed permission to operate while 27 had been denied registration. Out of the 27 INGOs, six INGOs are those which have been found, according to the ministry, non-responsive and were not providing required information.

The state minister had divulged that fresh policy for registration of INGOs had been formed in October 2015 after the government received some reports that some INGOs were carrying out activities beyond their mandate as permitted by the government of Pakistan and some were operating in sensitive areas without having due permission.

Prior to enforcement of new policy, Economic Affairs Division (EAD) used to deal with the INGOs’ registration, but later the task was handed over to the interior ministry in the light of the recommendations of the committee formed by the then prime minister. The committee consisted of secretary interior, secretary EAD, chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), and DG ISI besides others.