This is worst of the times for civil society in the world. The States have turned repressive over civic actors and civic freedoms leaving those endangered. Generally speaking, States seem to be on run to squeeze civic spaces and to crush down civic actors be it journalists, human rights defenders, writers, artists, or NGOs. There remains increasingly a large number of restrictions illegitimately imposed on these actors, however, with regard to Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) which constitute a tiny part in overall civil society canvass, more than one hundred fifty States across the world have created plethora of laws and other stringent regulatory mechanisms to strangulate civil society organizations so that they could remain perpetually challenged and dying into dozes. It is believed that the global States have rolled out such brutal steps to reclaim their so-called sovereignty of which a tiny part is believed to have been taken away by the transnational civil society actors. It is also argued that the States have turned conscious rather afraid of power of civil society actors especially after the colored revolutions which were significantly fed into by the civil society organizations. That is true. The Civil Society as a whole have made significant inroads into local and global governance and have developed its legitimacy as a key player in empowering the powerless, protecting the marginalized, providing voice to voiceless and making visible the socially, religiously and politically discriminated invisible groups. Keeping reasons aside, what makes most concerned remains that the global governance institutions such as United Nations (UN) and European Union (EU) seem to have made limited response to such monstrous whirlpool having potential to wipe out civil society actors. The International Non-governmental Organization (INGOs) also seem to have embraced adaptive rather than much needed non-conformist approach. Those INGOs seemingly prefer to re-structure and reorient their approach and interventions in line with the repressive and illegitimate States’ regulations rather than forming resistance. This approach does not offer real solutions and remains contradictory on account of the fact that civil society by its inherent role and mandate needs to remain independent, non-conformist and as a resisting force. As a result of compromised approach of INGOs, the grass-roots NGOs and community level organizations have turned to be confused and stressed. On one side they remain perpetually harassed by the States and on other hand they unfortunately remain hassled at the hands of INGOs which condition their funding to such NGOs with their compliance level with illegitimate, complex and repressive State’s regulations. Civil society must resist illegitimate State restrictions. It is time to act. Peaceful grass-roots resistance is needed. Alliances and networks need to be formed and membership-based funding mechanisms need to be developed. Compromise will get us nowhere I still remember how INGOs harassed Pakistan Fisher folk Forum when its General Secretary Saeed Baloch was detained by the paramilitary forces being falsely accused of various offences of which he was later acquitted by the Court. Except from one, all of the PFF donors were about to discontinue their so called partnership with it or at least they have made their mind not to give it any other projects. One of the PFF’s donors from corporate sector went to highest level of immorality by indirectly asking it to discontinue Saeed Baloch from Secretary ship. This is very unfortunate that all such INGOs blatantly forgot simple difference between an accused and a convict. They also tended to easily overlook simple principle of law that unless one is proven guilty, he or she remains innocent. Such outlook of INGOs is also evident in a way that most of the INGOs in Pakistan have asked local civil society actors to follow the State policy to register with Economic Affairs Division and to subsequently sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with it which seem to completely deprives civil society organizations of their independence and their inherent mandate of rights-based work. Many of the INGOs have also outspokenly asked to their partner NGOs to follow this policy so as to qualify for their further funding. The collective solution? First and foremost, the States must realize that civic freedoms constitute core of democracy and human rights and most important, the liberty (liberty of expression, association and action) constitute inalienable natural rights of man which States have to protect on virtue of their inherent political and administrative task being social construct. Secondly, the powerful Western States such as America, British, Germany and France, which despite being challenged by China yield immense influence in shaping world order, must develop consensus on protecting civic spaces while keeping their varied geo-political interests aside. The question of protection of civil society must remain depoliticized and being left ingrained in their foreign policy framework. Also, under the political neo-liberal doctrine, these States are obliged to protect these civic freedoms and its actors across the world. Thirdly, EU and UN should enhance their efforts to unlock the closed spaces and to prevent process of shrinking civic spaces further. The efforts made by these two powerful institutions do not suffice. The spaces remain shrinking at unprecedented pace which merits most urgent preventive measures along with coherent legally binding penalizing international legal framework at UN level. Fourthly, INGOs must stop harassing local civil society actors. They need to resist States’ illegitimate restrictions and demands rather than insisting these local actors to adopt compromised approach at the expense of their inherent mandate. They must realize that independence constitute core of the civil society. Further, INGOs also must stand by local civil society actors in difficult times rather than harassing and compounding their troubles. Last but not least, civil society must resist against such illegitimate States’ restrictions. It is time to act. Grass-roots peaceful actions needs to done. Alliances and networks in this regard need to be formed and membership-based funding mechanisms need to be developed. The writer holds a Master’s degree in Human Rights and Democratisation from the University of Sydney. He can be reached at email@example.com, and tweets @Jamiljunejo Published in Daily Times, October 1, 2018.