Stakeholders call for strengthening healthy State-NGO relationship in Pakistan.

Government and civil society will Promote Human Rights and Achieve Sustainable Development Goals “Secretary social welfare, women development and population welfare, GB

Civil Society Organizations and Govt officials call for measures to improve mutual cooperation and support among government and Non-Profit Sector to promote human rights and sustainable development in the Gilgit-Baltistan specifically and in the country.

Two separate consultations with Civil Society Organizations and Govt officials were organized by Awaz-CDS Pakistan and well-known civil society organization Publishing Extension Network-PEN, the relevant government departments and civil society discuss and explore effective strategies, activities, measures, and initiatives to improve civic spaces, strengthen civil society, greater access to resources, and how civil society can engage meaningfully from grassroots to provincial, regional and the national level for improved participation and reasonable compliance processes.

The participants of the consultations held in Gilgit demanded an enabling legal framework and a conducive political and public environment for CSOs and national institutions for the protection and promotion of human rights.The participants in detail discussed the National and provincial legislations and regulatory frameworks including the EAD Policyand other mechanisms to obtain NOCs.

During the consultation held with government officials second session chaired by Secretary social welfare, women development, human rights and population welfare Fida Hussain, he expressed his views and he said, the government departments and civil society joint efforts will effectively contribute towards sustainable human development and will promote the human rights situation and create a friendly working relationship between government departments and civil society by following the sustainable development goals-SDGs

Mr. Zia Ur Rehman, Chief Executive Awaz CDS-Pakistan shared the results and findings of the nationwide survey conducted by Awaz CDS-Pakistan and Pakistan Development Alliance on the various challenges faced by civil society organizations towards the existing legal and regulatory frameworks, operations and access of resources. The survey also indicated the confusion among the Government agencies as well as NGOs in complying with the legal frameworks. According to the results more than 60% of the NGOs working in the country face challenges to obtain various types of MOUs, NOCs and other permissions to implement their development interventions. Another key finding says working on minorities rights, women rights and transgender rights in Pakistan is comparatively difficult than services delivery related interventions. More than 81% NGOs representatives face challenges in opening of Bank accounts for their projects whereas 87% NGOs showed their dissatisfaction on overall civic spaces in the country.He emphasized that the Federal and Provincial Governments should establish communication channels for effective coordination and must ensure that regulations on funding for CSOs comply with international human rights standards.

Moreover, he said, “We encourage the authorities to put in place measures, in consultation with others including civil society, that could mitigate the gaps to ensure that the enforcement of regulatory policy framework does not lead to violations of the right to freedom of association.”

The civil society representatives Mr Israruddin, Ms NazGul, Ms Yasmeen Karim and government officials Manzoor Ahmed, Mubarka Gul, Zia ur- Rehman, Muhammad Sharif and Ms Nazneen spoke during the consultations, and they said “An effective civil society is the backbone of thriving communities and countries.Civil society can be a catalyst for social, political, and economic progress. Civic groups mobilize people and resources to fight disease and hunger. They work to strengthen rule of law and promote accountability and transparency”.

Mr. Ejaz Khan Founding Director-PEN said “The government should focus on engaging CSOs as important, strong, and independent partners in strengthening and promoting development, improving service delivery, and making the government more responsive to the needs and aspirations of the citizens.” At the end he thanked the Secretary social welfare, department of women development and other government officials and civil society members for their intellectual input during both consultations held in Gilgit

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