ISLAMABAD - Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan Friday gave a sound warning that all the international and local non-government organisations (NGOs) working in violation of their charters and beyond their mandate would not be allowed to continue their operations in Pakistan.

The warning of the minister came a day after the government started a crackdown on some NGOs for their alleged involvement in illegal activities. As part of this crackdown, the operations of an international aid group, “Save the Children”, were banned in the country the other day and its offices were sealed in Islamabad while the Economic Affairs Division issued notices to some 20 other NGOs on Friday.

Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan also made it clear that the government would continue its policy on executions of death-row convicts as part of implementation of National Action Plan (NAP) on Counterterrorism despite pressure from European Union and other international groups.

The minister said the number of the NGOs (local and international) violating their charter while operating in Pakistan might be in hundreds and these were on the watch list. He said the government was likely to introduce a regulation system for all local and international NGOs. “We want to bring them under a code of conduct,” he said. “The foreign countries only reject visas of our parliamentarians for speaking against them in the parliament. How can you allow any NGO to work against the code of conduct?” he questioned.

The minister said some NGOs were working well in Pakistan and they would continue their operations, but added those working against the national interests of the country and its culture would not be allowed to work. “We will not allow any NGO to work against the interests, culture, values of the country,” he warned. He said a number of unregistered NGOs had been working in the country for the last 10 to 12 years.

“Some NGOs are doing the jobs for which they are not registered. This will not be allowed in Pakistan,” Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan reiterated, adding he would reveal a lot in the coming days either in the Parliament or before the media about what had been going on here for the last 12 years. He made it clear that the government would not succumb to any pressure on this issue. “Only those NGOs should have fears that want to impose international agenda on Pakistan,” he asserted.

“The unregistered NGOs working in Pakistan as per their mandate would be registered. Those registered, but working beyond their jurisdiction, would have to remain within their jurisdiction while those involved in illegal activities would be banned,” he said.

The interior minister said “Save the Children” was banned as it had been working against its charter and mandate for the last many years. “We want to force the NGOs to work within the ambit of their charter,” he said, adding the government did not want to ban them. Nisar revealed two NGOs – one registered in Ghana and the other in Gambia – were working in Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan without any permission; the government had to go to the UN for imposition of sanctions on them. “We contested their registration and 12 countries supported us, but the US, India and Israel opposed us,” he said. No compromise would be mad on the national interests, he asserted. Responding to a question, the minister said a number of NGOs had hired important personalities or their children to give cover to their illegal activities and this would be scrutinised as well.

On the issue of executions, the minister said the government respected the European Union, but it should keep in mind that capital punishment was legal under the law and constitution of Pakistan. A hue and cry was being raised from the time moratorium was lifted on executions and some NGOs were promoting this agenda. “We respect your law and you should respect our law,” he said, addressing the European Union. He added the judicial system of the country was being made controversial through such moves. This propaganda should stop, he said. “I am also writing a letter to friendly countries in this regard,” he revealed.

The minister pointed out that all the courts hade given verdict against death-row convict Shafqat Hussain. “Now some NGOs have taken up another case of Aftab Bhadir, but no one raised the issue of his age at any stage. Our courts have declared 10,000 accused persons as juveniles in last 10 years and we have a proper judicial system. We have also sought explanation from the Sindh government over halting execution of Shafqat Hussain at the last moment,” he concluded.