Funding restrictions cripple Church agencies in Pakistan

Light of truth

Christian groups in Pakistan are trying to stop the government closing their bank accounts as part of a process it says is in-tended to throttle foreign funding to terrorist organizations.

The government has revoked the licenses of thousands of non-governmental agencies and thus prevented them receiving foreign funding, including from Christian non-governmental agencies.

“The future of our workers is at stake. We are still being accused of working on a Western agenda and labelled as anti-national groups,” said Cecil Chaudhry, who heads the Catholic Church’s National Commission for Justice and Peace.

He was speaking at a Dec. 16 meeting of right civil groups at the Lahore Press Club organized by the Joint Action Committee for People’s Rights (JAC), a form of human rights groups and journalists union. Speakers expressed concern over the military’s increasing involvement in governance, attacks on liberal news agencies and closure of non-governmental agencies.

Chaudhary told the meeting that commercial bank accounts in three of the country’s seven dioceses had been closed.

The Church’s human rights organization employs 40 Christian activists and they were now struggling to pay staff salaries, he added.

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