Pakistan orders NGO Save the Children to leave country

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Pakistani authorities have ordered the non-governmental organisation ‘Save the Children’ to shut down offices and leave the country, with an official allegedly accusing the NGO of “anti-Pakistan” activities.

Police have sealed off the NGO’s offices in Islamabad following the authorities’ orders. “We were sent a three-line notification by the interior ministry saying that this office should be sealed and all the expatriate staff be sent back to their countries within 15 days,” an official was quoted saying.

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No formal announcement explaining the reasons behind the decision has been given out by authorities yet. One official, however, told the AFP news agency, “Their activities were being monitored since a long time. They were doing something which was against Pakistan’s interest.”

The NGO claimed it was shut down without prior notice, “We strongly object to this action and are raising our serious concerns at the highest levels. All our work is designed and delivered in close collaboration with the government ministries across the country and aims to strengthen public service delivery systems in health, nutrition, education and child welfare.”

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No formal announcement explaining the decision has been given out by authorities yet. One official, however, told the AFP news agency, “Their activities were being monitored since a long time. They were doing something which was against Pakistan’s interest.”

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According to reports, Pakistan has previously linked the organisation to the fake vaccination programme used by the CIA to track down Osama Bin Laden.

The NGO has, however, always denied being involved with the CIA or Pakistani doctor Shakil Afridi, who carried out the programme.

Image Courtesy: AFP

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