Aid groups asked to leave

The Mercury - - WORLD -

PAK­ISTAN is kick­ing out 18 in­ter­na­tional char­i­ties after re­ject­ing their fi­nal ap­peal to stay in the coun­try, a move that an aid group spokesper­son said yes­ter­day would af­fect mil­lions of des­per­ately poor Pak­ista­nis and lead to tens of mil­lions of aid dol­lars lost.

The ma­jor­ity of the shut­tered aid groups are US-based, while the rest are from Bri­tain and the EU, ac­cord­ing to a gov­ern­ment list. An­other 20 groups are at risk of also be­ing ex­pelled after au­thor­i­ties a few months ago sin­gled out some 38 in­ter­na­tional aid groups for clo­sure, with­out any ex­pla­na­tion.

The devel­op­ment is the lat­est in a sys­tem­atic crack­down on in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tions in Pak­istan, with au­thor­i­ties us­ing ev­ery bu­reau­cratic ex­cuse to tar­get the or­gan­i­sa­tions.

There is also a per­cep­tion in Islamabad that the US and Euro­pean coun­tries have se­cretly brought spies into Pak­istan un­der the guise of aid work­ers.

Yes­ter­day Pak­istan’s Hu­man Rights Min­is­ter Shireen Mazari said on Twit­ter that the 18 groups which had been asked to leave had spread dis­in­for­ma­tion. | AP

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