ISLAMABAD, 30 November 2020, (TON): Thousands of small and medium level non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have suffered during the government’s campaign to regularise their affairs in a bid to fulfil the requirements of Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global watchdog for illicit financing.
The mapping of NGOs was stared in May 2019 to fulfil the FATF requirements. The provincial government of KPK deregistered earlier this year around 3,851 NGOs of the total 4,935, working in different sectors in the province.
Prior to launching the exercise, sources said that 3, 838 NGOs were registered with the provincial social welfare department and 1,097 were registered with the provincial industries department. They said that social welfare department deregistered 3,030 NGOs while industries department deregistered 821 for not fulfilling the criteria required for their mapping. Over 3,500 non-governmental organisations deregistered since May 2019
However, later, the social welfare department re-registered 12 NOGs out of 3,030 while industries department re-registered 20 NGOs after they provided the required documents.
The government has also frozen the bank accounts of all the deregistered NGOs. The major information sought by the government from NGOs included registration certificates; constitution, rules and regulations; annual action plan and five years strategic plan; detailed annual budget; tax registration certificates; tax exemption certificates; tax returns of the last three years; evidence of withholding taxes; and annual performance reports for three years.
The director of social welfare department, Habib Afridi, when contacted, said that those NGOs were deregistered, which were not fulfilling the required criteria. “We have reregistered 12 NGOs, which have properly applied and provided the required documents,” he said.
He claimed that the most of deregistered NGOs had been dormant since long.
However, he said, the department had directed all the NGOs through advertisements in the newspapers to provide the requisite information.
For effective and secure working, FATF has recommended scrutiny of non-profits and NGOs. Pakistan was assigned by the FATF with 28 recommendations involving problems like terror financing and money laundering. Despite the publication of notices in newspapers, there was zero response from inactive organizations and were thus sacked.