Pakistan expels 18 int’l NGOs

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Cricket star-turned-politician Imran Khan, chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), speaks after voting in the general election in Islamabad, July 25, 2018. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan’s decision to clampdown on 18 international aid agencies is expected to hurt 11 million aid recipients in the South Asian nation grappling with perilously low standards of education and healthcare.

Affected NGOs include World Vision, Pathfinder, Plan International, Trocaire and Saferworld, while another group, ActionAid, last week said it was closing offices and laying off staff after the government told it to halt operations and leave.

A total of 27 international NGOs received expulsion orders late last year, but 18 appealed. Most of the affected groups worked on human rights and advocacy issues. This week’s expulsion orders come amid complaints by journalists about growing curbs on media freedom, though Islamabad has clamped down on foreign-funded aid groups for years.

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