Registration of international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Pakistan is a process that is regulated by the government of Pakistan. The process is relatively straightforward, but there are several steps that need to be followed to ensure that the registration is completed successfully.
The process of registering an international non-governmental organization (INGO) in Pakistan can be a complex and lengthy process, but it is an important step for any INGO that wishes to operate in the country legally. There are several requirements that must be met, including obtaining a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Ministry of Interior and obtaining registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP).
The first step in registering an INGO in Pakistan is to obtain a NOC from the Ministry of Interior. This is a crucial step, as without the NOC, the INGO cannot legally operate in Pakistan. To obtain the NOC, the INGO must submit an application along with a detailed project proposal outlining the objectives, goals, and activities of the organization in Pakistan. The proposal must include a detailed budget, a list of staff members and their qualifications, and a description of the organization’s sources of funding. The application must also include copies of the organization’s constitution, by-laws, and other relevant documents.
Once the NOC is obtained, the INGO must then apply for registration with the SECP. This involves submitting an application along with all of the necessary documents, including the NOC, a copy of the organization’s constitution and by-laws, and other relevant documents. The SECP will then review the application and, if everything is in order, issue a certificate of registration.
In addition to obtaining the NOC and registering with the SECP, there are several other requirements that must be met in order to operate an INGO in Pakistan. For example, the organization must obtain a tax exemption certificate from the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) in order to be exempt from paying taxes on its income. The organization must also obtain a registration certificate from the Pakistan Center for Philanthropy (PCP), which is responsible for regulating the activities of INGOs in Pakistan.
Another important requirement for INGOs operating in Pakistan is to ensure compliance with the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA). This law regulates the receipt and utilization of foreign contributions by non-governmental organizations in Pakistan. INGOs must obtain prior approval from the government before accepting any foreign funding, and they must also submit annual reports detailing the sources and uses of foreign funding.
Finally, it is important for INGOs to maintain open and transparent relationships with the government and local communities. This includes engaging with local stakeholders, providing regular updates on activities and projects, and seeking feedback and input from the community.
Documents Required for INGO Registration
(1) Acknowledgement of EAD that the Annual Plan of Action has been submitted
(2) Letter from the concerned Embassy verifying the credentials of the INGO
(3) Proof of Registration in the country of origin
(4) Detailed annual budget covering Administrative and Development components
(5) Approval of Commissioner. Inland Revenue concerned under section 2 (36) of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001
(6) Tax Returns (copies) for last 3 years (For Renewal of registration)
(7) Annual Reports for three years
(8) Financial Statements for last three years
(9) Funding guarantee letter containing donor commitment
(10) Proof of local residence (lease agreement, etc) with complete address/telephone numbers and list of local contacts in Pakistan (For Renewal of registration)
(11) Power of attorney from the Head Office authorizing its designated representative for applying for registration in Pakistan
(12) Application letter addressed to Secretary Interior requesting to register an INGO
(13) MOU available at MOI website, duly filled-in
(14) Staff Details
Ministry of Interior Policy for INGO Registration in Pakistan
REGISTRATION AND FUNDING
INGOs receiving foreign contributions (funds, materials and services) emanating from outside Pakistan or utilizing foreign economic assistance will require prior registration exclusively with the Ministry of Interior (MOI).
INGOs shall not raise funds and/or receive donations, locally, unless specifically authorized.
The INGOs shall declare to the Government of Pakistan all foreign funds, along with the terms and conditions of those funds, as well as details of all bank accounts maintained by them. The INGOs will maintain their financial accounts as per internationally accepted accounting standards.
There shall be an INGO Committee, chaired by Secretary Interior, in Ministry of Interior, to facilitate, streamline and monitor the working of INGOs. The INGO Committee will be the sole authority for approving registration of INGOs.
All INGOs presently operating in Pakistan will be required to apply for fresh registration on the newly introduced electronic version of the registration form, within 60 days from the date of proclamation of this policy.
Scrutiny of applications will be done by the INGO Committee within a period of 60 days.
Approved INGOs will be registered for specific field(s) of work and specified location(s) or areas of operation, after consultation with the relevant Federal and Provincial authorities, and in line with their needs and national priorities of Pakistan.
The INGO may apply for renewal of registration four (04) months prior to expiry of registration.
Pending final decision on application for registration, there will be no interim permission to work. However, previously registered INGOs will be allowed to continue their operations for six months or until final decision on their applications for fresh registration.
FUNCTIONING AND MONITORING
Subject to approval, the INGO will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Government for a period upto 3 years from the date of signatures. A draft MOU is attached to this policy and can also be downloaded.
The INGOs will only be allowed to establish headquarters and field offices, open bank accounts, and hire local employees after registration with the Government. No unregistered INGO shall be allowed to function or issued visas for its personnel.
All INGOs shall submit an Annual Plan of Action detailing all envisaged projects and the respective budgetary allocations to Economic Affairs Division (EAD) and Ministry of Interior (MOI) at the time of registration, and subsequently on an annual basis. EAD will share these details with all concerned. The Planning and Development Departments of the Provincial Governments can also review the activities of the INGOs in terms of their TORs, and provide counsel where deemed appropriate.
INGOs shall only provide assistance (monetary and/or material) to a local or international NGO after approval of the Government.
Security clearance shall be obtained by Pakistan Missions abroad before issuing initial visa to the foreign nationals intending to work for INGOs. Hiring of foreign nationals by the INGOs in their management and/or staff shall be subject to prior clearance of Ministry of Interior.
Maximum duration of visas for non-Pakistani nationals working for the INGOs, will be one year.
The foreign employees of the INGOs shall seek prior permission of the Ministry of Interior (MOI) for visiting areas outside their designated areas of activities. Violation may lead to cancellation of visas.
Business / visit visas shall not be issued to INGOs staff. No request for change of status of visa shall be entertained in Pakistan or by Pakistan Missions abroad.
There will be regular and effective monitoring of INGOs’ activities and work throughout Pakistan. MOI will periodically update relevant authorities about the status and areas of operation / of INGOs enabling them to ensure effective vigilance on INGOs.
The INGOs shall not engage in money laundering, terrorist financing, weapon smuggling, anti-state activities or maintain links with the proscribed organizations.
Breach of security or involvement in any activity inconsistent with Pakistan’s national interests, or contrary to Government policy, will lead to cancellation of registration. Likewise, INGOs shall not take part or assist in any kind of political activities, conduct research or surveys unrelated to their TORs. Violation may lead to cancellation of registration.
Any information on violation of terms of reference by an INGO received by any Ministry / Department / Agency will be expeditiously shared with all concerned.
TRANSPARENCY AND DISCLOSURE
The INGOs shall be obliged to provide any information that the government may require from time to time.
There shall be proper regulation and monitoring of INGOs’ sources of funding, their accounts and tax returns. INGOs not fulfilling disclosure requirements will be proceeded against, under prescribed rules and regulations.
INGOs will be required to have their financial audit conducted by the auditors approved by the INGO Committee.
The INGOs shall fulfill reporting requirements mandated by the Government on the prescribed formats. The INGO Committee will devise these reporting formats as per requirements from time to time.
The INGOs shall be required to make all payments above Rs.20,000/- (Twenty Thousand) in Pakistan through banking channels.
REVIEW OF REGISTRATION
Right of appeal will be applicable only to the cases of cancellation of registration.
In case of grievance of any INGO against the orders of INGO Committee, the concerned INGO may file a representation (within 90 days from the date of orders of INGO Committee) before a Special Ministerial Committee to be constituted and notified by the Government. The said Committee would decide all representations within 90 days. The decision of this Committee would be final.
Any decision on termination of INGO registration shall be implemented within a period of 60 days, allowing such an INGO to fulfill all contractual obligations. Winding up of operations will be in accordance with the laid down procedure to be notified by the INGO Committee. Cancellation of registration cannot be challenged in any court of law.
If the Government may deem it in public interest (such as in situations of national disasters and other calamities), it may, subject to such conditions that it may specify, exempt an INGO from all or any of the provisions of this policy for a period not exceeding 6 months.
Source : https://ingo.interior.gov.pk/
It is worth noting that the registration process for international NGOs in Pakistan can take several months to complete. NGOs should also be aware of the laws and regulations governing their activities in Pakistan, as non-compliance can result in legal action being taken against them.
In addition to registration, international NGOs must also comply with the laws and regulations governing their activities in Pakistan. These laws cover areas such as taxation, employment, and the receipt of foreign funding. NGOs should seek legal advice to ensure that they are in compliance with these laws and regulations.
In summary, registering an INGO in Pakistan requires a significant amount of time, effort, and resources. It is important for INGOs to carefully review and understand all of the requirements and regulations before beginning the registration process. By doing so, INGOs can ensure that they are operating legally and can maximize their impact in the communities they serve