Islamabad, Oct 5 (IENews) Pakistan has asked 18 International NGOs to terminate their operations and leave the country within 60 days.
South Africa-based charity Action Aid had received the expulsion order on October 4th from Pakistan’s Interior Ministry after losing an appeal of an order to leave the country last year.
Speaking to international media agencies, ActionAid said the move was a part of a “worrying escalation of recent attacks on civil society” in Pakistan.
The move comes amidst increasing concerns by human rights activists and press freedom campaigners about freedom of expression in the country.
Pakistan’s intelligence services have viewed NGOs with increased suspicion since the discovery in 2011 of a fake vaccination programme in the country run by the CIA was aimed at tracking down Osama bin Laden.
ActionAid and the other 17 foreign relief organisations that appealed against their expulsion orders were among 27 charities ordered out of the country last year, most of them were working on human rights issues.