Association in Pakistan

Domestic organisations can form and register in Pakistan with no major obstacles and the legal framework can be considered generally enabling for civil society. However, international organisations operate in a much more restrictive legal framework. As part of the new Policy for Regulation of International Non-governmental Organisations, INGOs must re-register and limit their operations to specific issues and geographical areas. Additionally, the Interior Minister stated that foreign organisations will not be allowed to financially support other organisations unless they are authorised by its office. Activists and human rights defenders – mainly those working in conflict areas – face killing, arbitrary arrests, kidnapping by security agencies, religious groups, militants and armed militias. In May 2015, human rights activist Khurram Zaki was killed by four men at a restaurant in Karachi. In November 2015, Muhammad Zaman Mehsud, a monitor from the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan was murdered by unknown assailants in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Radical Islamist groups frequently threaten and attack organisations that promote women’s rights. The Blasphemy Law is widely used to target human rights defenders, especially those defending the rights of religious minorities.