ISLAMABAD – The Pakistan Civil Society Forum (PCSF), including national NGOs, trade unions groups, human rights institutions, journalist bodies and civil society organisations (CSOs) held a meeting in Islamabad on Friday.
Representatives from across Pakistan attended the meeting and discussed the recent movement of ‘harassment’ of civil society organisations.
Pakistan Civil Society Forum (PCSF) took serious exception to a statement of Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in which he alleged that the national NGOs were involved in anti-state activities and had links with Israel, India and the United States.
“Such sweeping statements are highly irresponsible and totally unfounded,” the forum noted. “Such statements amount to hate speech as they may incite violence against NGOs and can put at risk the lives of hundreds of thousands of NGO workers active in the various parts of Pakistan.”
The forum advised the government to acknowledge the valuable work that national and international NGOs have been doing to help the people of Pakistan and refrain from undermining the work of thousands of NGOs and INGOs simply because of their dislike for Save the Children.
Hundreds of thousands of NGOs have made exceptional contributions to the people’s welfare and continue to struggle for a democratic, stable, and peaceful Pakistan.
The Forum noted that the contribution of NGOs ranges from promoting constitutional rights and educating citizens in their democratic rights and duties, to defence of human rights, rescue and relief in disasters and post disaster recovery processes and complementing the state’s primary responsibility of providing basic services like education, health, water, employment, and access to justice.
The forum said it would hold dialogues with members of parliament and the provincial assemblies as well as government officials to improve citizen-state engagement and understanding.
The civil society organisations which attended the meeting and endorsed the statement included Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, South Asia Partnership Pakistan, Aurat Foundation, Sungi Development Foundation, SPO, PILER, Shirkat Gah, Omar Asghar Foundation, Rozan, PODA, SAFCO, Paiman, Daman, Bargad, Centre for Civic Education, Pattan Development Organisation and Society for Alternative Media.
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