ISLAMABAD - The interior ministry has so far allowed around two dozen international non-government organisations (INGOs) to operate in Pakistan under a new policy of the federal government announced in October last year.

Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali yesterday chaired a meeting which allowed some more INGOs to work in the country, raising the number of international organisations which have been given permission to operate to 25, a ministry statement said.

According to official figures, as many as 131 INGOs have applied with the ministry for fresh registration under the new policy to register.

The INGOs which have so far been cleared by the ministry include seven USA-registered organisations: Jhpiego Corporation, International Medical Corps, Relief International, World Learning Inc., Action Against Hunger, American Refugee Committee International, and Care International.

Five of these INGOs are registered in United Kingdom (UK): Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind (Sight Savers), Oxfam, Helpage International, Midland Doctors Association and Health Care 4 All International. Another five of the approved organisations are Japan based: Kokyo Naki Kodomotachi (KnK), Association for Aid and Relief, JEN (Japan Emergency NGO) and Sakura Wheelchair Project.

The rest include KSA-based Custodian of Two Holy Mosques Relief Campaign for Pakistan and Saudi Relief Committee for Afghanistan, France-based Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) and Secours Islamique France, Operational Centre Brussels (Belgium), Qatar Charity (Qatar), Medicins Sans Frontieres (Holland), Terre des homes Foundation (Switzerland) and The Fred Hollows Foundation (Australia).

The interior ministry until February 2015 had allowed 19 INGOs to work in the country in their respective fields. The government while unveiling the new policy had asked all INGOs to get them registered afresh through the ministry within 60 days. The deadline was later extended until December 31, 2015. The previous MoUs of all INGOs were cancelled and these were allowed to work for an interim period till final decision.

Earlier in December last year, the ministry had given first formal authorisation to two INGOs: Qattar Charity and MSF, Belgium.

Minister Ch Nisar while addressing Tuesday's meeting directed for further expediting the process of registration in consultation with all the stakeholders. "The new policy is aimed at facilitating INGOs and regulate their affairs thus making the entire system more transparent and work-friendly on one hand and building a strong partnership of governmental and non-governmental sectors in all areas of development, on the other," he said.

Quoting a letter from Pakistan Humanitarian Forum (PHF) wherein the INGOs' representative body appreciated the interior minister and the ministry for its support and commitment to make new system a success story, Nisar observed that it was encouraging to see response of non-governmental bodies towards efforts aimed at regulating the system. He said the ministry was ready to assist provinces in putting in place similar mechanism for registration of local NGOs and better regulate their affairs.

The meeting also reviewed progress on Safe City Project and the minister was apprised that the project had passed its test phase and was ready to be formally inaugurated.

The meeting was informed that the integration of security as well as traffic management system of the federal capital in Safe City Project would not only complement efforts of law enforcing agencies (LEAs) in prevention, detection and control crime but also render huge help in resource optimisation, especially the human resource.

The minister was informed that successful execution of the project and its effectiveness vis-a-vis curbing crime and traffic management would enable this model to be replicated in all major cities of the country.

The project director also gave a briefing on the overall performance, including areas under surveillance, various features of the project and future prospects. The project would be inaugurated in April.

On issue of shifting of police offices from residential areas, the minister directed the inspectors general of police (IGPs) of Islamabad and Motorways Police to immediately shift their offices from residential areas in light of the directives of the Supreme Court.

"We respect observations of superior judiciary and its decision will be implemented in letter and spirit," he said and added: "It is not befitting stature of judges to raise profile of international organisations by naming them in their statements out of context."

The meeting also reviewed progress on new technology-based initiatives being put in place by the ICT Police to improve policing, curbing crime and promoting greater liaison between the police and public, thus making it a truly professional, responsive, people-friendly and premier police force.

Discussing issue of private security companies, the minister directed to revoke licences of those companies which had not submitted their particulars and details to ICT Administration.

Interior Secretary and Special Secretary, National Coordinator (NC) of National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta), Inspector General of Police (IGP) Islamabad, chairman of National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra), ICT Chief Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner and other senior officials attended the meeting.