By Paul W. Dennis
UG Christian News has learnt that the government of Pakistan has expelled evangelical relief charity World Vision, and 17 other foreign aid groups and NGOs.
According to the Christian Post (CP) , the nation’s top human rights official has claimed that they all engaged in spreading disinformation.
The organizations, most of which are U.S.-based with some based in Europe, have halted their operations in the Islamic republic after their appeals of the government’s decision to deny re-registration was turned down.
Pakistan Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari, according to CP claimed that the groups were denied re-registration because they spread “disinfo” and were not working within “their stated intent.”
The news came as the government ordered at least 20 aid groups to close down in December 2017 because of security concerns.
According to a statement provided to CP, World Vision had 31 staff members in Pakistan and was working on two supporting grants, one of which came from the Canadian government to “strengthen maternal, newborn and child health.”
World Vision’s departure comes after a two-year effort by the organization to re-gain formal registration. The charity began working in Pakistan in 2005.
Other organizations denied registrations include American Center for International Labor Solidarity, the Central Asia Education Trust, International Alert, Action Aid, Danish Refugee Council, Switzerland’s Foundation Open Society Institute and the U.S.-based birth control and family planning charity Pathfinder International.
Umair Hasan, a spokesman for the Pakistan Humanitarian Forum and the country director of Islamic Relief Worldwide, told the Associated Press that the groups affiliated with the forum have helped as many as 11 million poor Pakistanis and contributed over $130 million in aid.
“No organization has been given a clear reason for the denial of its registration renewal applications,” Hasan was quoted as saying.
The Christian Post contributed to this report.