Even in good times, the Pakistani government may not have the resources to conduct effective relief and rehabilitation operations, given the scale of the devastation. But Pakistan is facing a severe problem Economic crisis Reflect multiple factors, including the sharp rise in energy prices due to the war in Ukraine.
The government asked the international community for support, and many countries They provide generous assistance. However, there is an important one missing item In relief efforts: support from international NGOs (NGOs). This is because in 2010 the government imposed a ban on many international NGOs. Despite the massive floods, local political considerations make it difficult for the government to rescind this ban and allow NGOs to provide flood relief. Here’s what you need to know.
In some countries, NGOs are no longer welcome
More than 60 countries now have laws Restricting international NGOs or foreign funding for operations local NGOs. These restrictions are a marked shift in policy – since the end of the Cold War, NGOs and others Civil society Organizations have worked alongside governments and markets to maintain democracy and promote economic development. However, some governments are now placing restrictions on international NGOs, a shift that has accelerated in recent years with the onset ofstagnation of democracy. “
Why repression? Some governments claim that international NGOs and international funding of domestic NGOs interfere in domestic politics. This is powerful rhetoric because countries all over the world are sensitive to foreign interference in domestic affairs – and international NGOs tend to have a presence in Western countries.
Domestic politics further complicates the ban of NGOs in Pakistan
In Pakistan, the proximate reason for the government’s refusal to allow relief efforts from international NGOs is also part of the high-profile political fight between the government and the opposition, led by former Prime Minister Imran Khan.
in April, Khan resigned After a vote of no-confidence in Parliament – and he claims it US coordinated his removal from office. He’s organizing mass rallies to demand early elections, and in the process he’s taking off Anti-Western sentiment.
Khan’s actions make it difficult for the government to welcome relief efforts by international NGOs. Current political dynamics – along with deep-rooted doubt The United States is among many in Pakistan – making it difficult for the government to accept much-needed assistance from many international NGOs.
With governments around the world cracking down on international NGOs, there have been few local protests. Why haven’t international NGOs seen more support from citizens in countries that NGOs want to help?
Citizens have complex perceptions of foreign donors
our Research It exposes a complex picture of domestic support for foreign funding of NGOs. To understand how Pakistanis feel about foreign-funded NGOs in general, we conducted a face-to-face survey with 530 participants, conducted by Gallup Pakistan in Lahore, the second largest city in Pakistan, with It has a population of more than 13 million people. Lahore is the capital of Punjab province, which includes more than half of Pakistan’s population.
While no city in Pakistan is immune to communal strife, Lahore, unlike other major cities such as Karachi, Peshawar, and Quetta, has experienced low levels of communal strife. This means that we have a better chance of getting honest answers from survey participants. Furthermore, we made sure not to elicit reactions when asked about it schoolscenters of religious education focused on the study of Islam – which many in Pakistan associate with sectarian violence (Sunni versus Shiite).
Using survey experiment techniques, we asked a sample of 530 adults randomly selected from different neighborhoods in Lahore if they would be willing to donate to a local virtual school that provides K-12 education. In various frameworks of our experience, we have observed that the school receives no external support or that it receives donor support in the United States, Germany or Saudi Arabia.
We find that respondents’ willingness to donate diminishes when the virtual school accepts funds from donors in Saudi Arabia and the United States. However, we do not find such hesitation when money comes from Germany.
What does this tell us about foreign NGOs and the crisis of American credibility in Pakistan? After running the CIA dummy vaccination program As they hunted down al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, perceptions of US support for any NGO aroused public skepticism. In fact, Pakistan banned save the Children In the wake of the revelation of the bin Laden case, although there is no evidence of the global charity’s involvement.
Could the Pakistani public support NGOs that receive funding from Saudi Arabia, for example? The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a brotherly Muslim country, a country with a history Very high approval rates In public opinion polls in Pakistan. After all, much of the rhetoric against international NGOs is directed against US NGOs, reflecting the narrative of Islam versus the West. Our survey found that local support diminishes when the school receives funds from Saudi Arabia.
The bottom line is that in the context of Pakistan, public perceptions of international NGOs or international support for local NGOs are mixed. Government policy does not always clearly reflect public opinion. Alternatively, it may be partisan politics that dictates politics – in which case, the government may believe it cannot appear to favor “American” NGOs, an issue that Khan and the opposition could exploit.
For the looming humanitarian crisis in Pakistan, domestic politics may continue to hamper international aid efforts – though growing invitation Inside Pakistan-based charities to reconsider NGO policies.
Raphael Wassef Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Administration at Portland State University.
Asim Prakash He is the Walker Family Professor of Arts and Sciences and Director of the Center for Environmental Policy at the University of Washington in Seattle.