Pakistan – new policy to regulate International Non-governmental Organizations

Pakistan - International Non-governmental Organizations

Pakistan’s Ministry of Interior (MoI) promulgated a new policy to regulate registration, working, funding, monitoring and other matters related to International Non-governmental Organizations (INGO) operating in Pakistan, with effect from 1 October 2015. The new policy requires all INGOs to register with the MoI, including those already working in Pakistan.

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The registration process requires submission of these documents (among others):

  • annual plan of action
  • detailed annual budget covering administrative and development components
  • tax returns, financial statements and annual reports for last 3 years
  • approval from the tax commissioner of the INGO’s status as a not-for-profit organization
  • funding guarantee letter containing donor commitment
  • staff details
  • letter from the relevant embassy verifying the INGO’s credentials.   

The policy states that any breach of security or involvement in any activity inconsistent with Pakistan’s national interests, or contrary to government policy, will lead to cancellation of registration. INGOs are also prohibited from:

  • taking part or assisting in any kind of political activities
  • conducting research or surveys unrelated to their approved terms of reference
  • engaging in money laundering, terrorist financing, weapons smuggling and anti-state activities
  • maintaining links with proscribed organizations.  

Existing INGOs must apply for re-registration under this policy by 30 November 2015, although they can continue their work until a final decision is made on the application. 

With this new policy, the government is living up to its claim preceding its announcement that it will be tough. Concerns have been raised about the discretionary powers given to the security establishment to decide whether an INGO’s activities constitute a breach of security or are against the country’s national interests. As a result, the policy’s implementation in its present form remains to be seen. 

MENASA Tax Update - November 2015

The latest news in tax from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA) region.

 
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