MIRPUR (AJK) -  The AJK government has directed all the non-governmental organizations working in Muzaffarabad division to cease their activities immediately and apply for new registration with Social Welfare Department, official sources confirmed.

Through a notice, which was also published in a local newspaper, all the NGOs were directed to cease their projects till renewal of their registrations, said AJK government. Any organisation acting in contravention of law will be dealt with accordingly, the official sources told this Correspondent on Thursday quoting the official notice.

At the same time, the announcement has shocked the already registered civil society organisations across AJK. Various registered NGOs while unanimously rejecting the reported restrictions have termed the reportedly unilateral order uncalled for an unwarranted and an obstacle in serving the sick humanity including poor and drown-trodden.

Executive Director of Centre for Peace, Development and Reforms (CPDR) Ershad Mahmud, and peace activist AH Nizami said in a joint statement that how can a democratically elected government in AJK put in place curbs on the civil society organizations which are working in the interest of society and particularly supporting democratic norms and human rights in the region since long.

President NGO’s Coordination Council Dr Tahir Mehmood said that since the above order was reportedly passed by the district magistrate Muzaffarabad, the AJK social welfare department and Azad Jammu & Kashmir Council, have not been informed accordingly.

Dr Tahir Mehmood suggested that only non-registered NGOs should be stopped from functioning. He said that the already registered NGOs could be asked for verification of their registration within a stipulated time frame.

“Stopping them from working is not acceptable and cage huge loss to humanity,” Dr Tahir added.