Pakistan to Save the Children: Get Out Now

Charity given 15 days to vacate country
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 12, 2015 9:12 AM CDT
A Pakistani police officer stands guard outside a sealed 'Save the Children' office in Islamabad, Pakistan, Friday, June 12, 2015.   (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash)
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(Newser) – Save the Children has carried out its charity work in Pakistan for more than three decades, but now the nonprofit has 15 days to get out of the country. The government has ordered it so, sending police to lock the gate of the charity's Islamabad office last night, Reuters reports. The BBC notes that though the government hasn't given an official reason for the move, it's been in conflict with Save the Children for the last five years, accusing the NGO of being in cahoots with the CIA over the fake vaccination program used help hunt down Osama bin Laden. Because of that, Save the Children—which denies those allegations—pulled all foreign staff from the country a year and a half ago, but 1,200 Pakistani staff were still working there.

Pakistan has been cracking down on NGOs lately over fears of espionage, and in a statement about the Save the Children move, the interior minister said, "International NGOs were working without any rules, regulations, agenda, and law in Pakistan. For several years intelligence reports were being received but no action was taken." A police official adds that Save the Children was taking part in "anti-Pakistani projects," noting, "We have been monitoring their calls and watching their offices. Their activities are very suspicious."

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