The history of Pakistani NGOs has its roots back in time of partition. The settlement of the millions of the migrants was the biggest challenge for the newly independent country. Although not named them as NGOs at that time, many voluntary organizations and civil society played an important role in rehabilitation and settlement of the migrants who had travelled to Pakistan to settle in the new Muslim state. During the first few years of Pakistan, many of these organizations concentrated on rehabilitation, welfare and charity services. During the period 1947-1958 these organizations together make immense contribution in the gigantic task of refugee settlement and to provide basic health and education facilities to the community.
The second phase of these organizations is the period from 1958 to 1971. It was the period of first martial law in which the government and civil society relations took a few twists. In this period government tried to regularize the voluntary organizations by promulgating Voluntary Social Welfare Agencies Registration and Control Ordinance in 1961. During the 1971 war, NGO sector again came out for relief activities and with the donations of local philanthropists a huge war relief activities were carried out.
14. Project Proposal for a scheme of Assistance to Voluntary Private Organization Seminars / Workshops / Book Promotion / Training Annual Conventions etc. 500/- 15. Application for Grant-in-Aid for Organising Book Fair and Seminar Cum Workshop Connected with book promotional activities 500/- 16. Application for Grant-in-Aid for Organizing Book Fair and Seminar Cum Workshop connected with book ...
The next era i.e. 1971-1977 is seen to be advantageous as well as disadvantageous for the civil society as the government tried to boost the NGO sector and encouraging it to play an important role in the development of the country. However, the nationalization policy of the Bhutto government did a great setback to the nonprofit sector because a number of educational institutions, trust and foundations setup and run by voluntary organizations were nationalized by the government. Resultantly many popular and credible organizations like Anjuman-e-Himayat-e-Islam and various Christian missions lost their premises and resources.
The next upsurge in the formation of NGOs took place in USSR-Afghan War during the period 1979-1989. In this period, a mushroom growth of voluntary organizations took place during the Zia regime, when the sector was being fed USAID funding in return for Pakistan’s support in the Afghan War. In this period, NGO sector also extended its role rapidly to the religious Madrasas when funding to religious educational institutions increased substantially from both the Pakistan state and foreign sources mainly from the Arab states. During this period two significant phenomena i.e. high degree of militancy within the religious organizations and sectarian violence emerged
In the early 1990s, there was another rapid increase in NGOs, when new organization were formed to take advantage of new available funding under the Peoples Work’s Program, National Rural Support Program (NRSP) and the Social Action Program (SAP) particularly in rural Sindh and Punjab. Apart from increased government funding to the NGO sector, last decade of the 20th century also saw a huge foreign donation in the backdrop of Afghan refugees which led many international donor, relief and rehabilitation agencies to set up their offices in Pakistan. Advocacy organizations focusing mainly human rights and women issues became much stronger and visible during this decade.
From last 10-12 years, the influx of NGOs is still continuing on the patron of last decade of previous century. It then switched to strengthening local governance systems (LGS) in 2001 when Pervez Musharraf’s government introduced the Devolution of Power Plan for the reform of the local government system. Most of the programs of large and medium scale organizations were aligned with LGS in a variety of ways. In this period, earthquake and floods provide NGO sector a new dimension of rehabilitation activities in disaster management. Due to the disasters faced in this period, a lot of donation came from abroad and collected within country. The increase in the number of NGOs also resulted in a negative trend. As funds were pouring in from all directions to the NGO sector in Pakistan, many interest group including several influential politicians went on to establish NGO that existed on papers only and did little to uplift the condition of the poor.
NGOs: Help or Hindrance In his article, John McCormick establishes that the number of NGOs present in the world today probably exists well into the six figures (P. 60). Assuming that the role of NGOs is to keep governmental organizations in check when it comes to environmental issues, it frustrated me to think that there actually could be such problems with environmental issues. Certainly hundreds ...