ISLAMABAD - The interior ministry has allowed 70 international non-government organisations (INGOs) to work in Pakistan under the new regulatory policy framework announced in 2015.

A senior officer of the ministry told a meeting held under the chair of Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan that the applications of 70 INGOs had been approved for registration under the new registration policy framework and the requests of the remaining INGOs were under process.

The website of the ministry says that 130 INGOs have applied for fresh online registration after the government announced in a new policy in September 2015. Hence, the applications of as many as 60 INGOs are still pending.

A spokesperson said that the interior minister had directed the ministry for expeditious completion of pending applications. The minister also directed for the establishment of a robust INGO facilitation cell in the ministry with technical support from the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra).

“We will welcome INGOs to operate freely and independently in Pakistan, let me also make it very clear that now there will absolutely be no margin or space for any INGO to misuse its permission [to operate],” Nisar told the meeting. “We would not allow anyone to work against our national security interests under the garb of INGO,” Nisar said.

The ministry had notified the new policy for the regulation of INGOs in Pakistan on October 1, 2015, and all the INGOs working in the country were asked to get themselves registered afresh with the ministry for the continuation of their operations. The ministry had given interim permission to work in Pakistan to those INGOs who had applied for fresh registration.

In 2015, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had approved the transfer of registration and regulation work of INGOs from the Economic Affairs Division (EAD) to the interior ministry.

Yesterday’s meeting also discussed the issue of POC (Pakistan Origin Cards) for the foreign spouses of persons having Pakistani origin. The chair directed Nadra to start work on provision of new cards to the foreigners who have Pakistani spouses to facilitate their residence in the country.

The meeting also reviewed the policy framework of Nadra for engaging the provincial governments for the establishment of Nadra owned permanent infrastructure for provision of better services to the citizens in each province.

It approved cooperation between Nadra and Pakistan Post and 10 post offices, two each in the urban and rural areas of the four provinces and AJK, which would be engaged in the provision of Nadra services in the initial phase.

After completion of test and evaluation period, the project would be further expanded and 1,500 postal offices across the country would be equipped for the provision of Nadra facilities.