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Govt has no intention of revisiting policy on INGOs registration, NA told

ISLAMABAD: The interior ministry on Thursday informed the National Assembly that the government did not intend to revisit the process of registering international non-government organisations (INGOs).

The ministry was responding to a question by Pakis­tan Peoples Party (PPP) MNA Shazia Marri about the government’s plans to ease the process of registering INGOs.

In its written reply, the ministry stated that envoys of Australia, Switzerland, Canada, the US, Japan and Norway, as well as member states of the European Union had jointly written to Prime Minister Imran Khan and expressed their concerns over the decision of declining and processing of INGOs.

While the government had no plans to revisit its policy to ease registration of INGOs, the ministry said, the decision had attained finality as it was approved by the INGO scrutiny committee, INGO committee and special ministerial committee.

According to the interior ministry, the INGOs had been given the right to reapply after six months — subject to the conditions that they would mould their programmes as per the priorities of the government.

In November last year, the Senate Functional Commit­tee on Human Rights had said it was unfair that the INGOs were not informed about the reason for which they were stopped from wor­king by the interior ministry.

That decision not only triggered criticism but also allow­ed foreign envoys to write a letter to the prime minister, asking him why the INGOs were not informed about their unlawful activities. Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari, however, called out foreign envoys for overstepping their jurisdiction.

In December last year, Plan International — a humanitarian organisation — shut down its operations in Pakistan after more than two decades of operations in the country following the government orders. The government, however, allowed Plan International to reapply for registration with a new memorandum of understanding after six months.

Similarly, the government had hinted at expelling 18 other aid-organisations the same month, including Action­aid.

Meanwhile, in response to a question by MNA Mussarat Rafiq Mahesar about identification of tax evaders, the finance ministry said the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) had carried out a crackdown on high net worth tax evaders.

Parameters were set to identify high net worth tax evaders such as those with properties above Rs20 million, vehicles above 1,800cc and annual rental income above Rs10m, it said.

More than 3,000 cases, the ministry added, had come forward after the parameters were set and some 154 returns were received with tax incidences of Rs21.1m so far. Action was also being taken against Pakistanis who had purchased properties in Dubai.

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