In a worrying move, the crackdown on international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) is continuing under the new set-up. Action Aid and Plan International are just two of a total of 18 that are being sent packing. The deadline for all is 60 days. No reason for the decision has been forthcoming. In fact, the only message delivered has been that registration applications may occur after six months.This is a pattern that has been ongoing here in Pakistan since 2011, when links between a fake polio programme and the US operation against Bin Laden first came to light. Though there had been rumours of western aid agencies using natural disasters, such as the 2005 earthquake, to spy on alleged ties between the security apparatus and militants. Yet things came to a head last year when the then government issued some 20 INGOs their marching orders for many of the same concerns. Though back then pressure from western governments allowed them to stay put while appeals were filed. Naturally, the work of the non-governmental sector is crucial to supplementing moves towards good governance and the upholding of fundamental rights; particularly in healthcare and education. Pakistan owes much to UNICEF for containing the polio endemic here. Though it is local staff that continue to quite literally battle the frontlines to administer drops and vaccines in restive areas; and where militants actively resist the programme. That being said, many INGOs provide partial budget allocations to local rights groups on the ground. Their support to minority communities can be invaluable. And then there is the question of broad-based local employment.That this announcement comes at a time when the FATF delegation is heading this way demonstrates a lack of disregard for the provision stipulating that civil society organisations should not be impeded from carrying out their work. It also paints a picture of a government not in complete coordination with its different departments. After all, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi while in the US promised to advocate on the behalf of INGOs. Yet before he was able to do so, the Interior ministry, which is held by Imran Khan, sent notices of expulsion.And then there is the inescapable fact that Pakistan remains, to a large extent, a donor recipient nation. Thus it has to court those who are willing to open purse-strings. What is perhaps needed in the long-term therefore is for all stakeholders to come together to restructure how the international development and NGO sector operate in Pakistan. To address prevailing concerns that promotions and pay-scales for the most part favour foreign workers; regardless of comparative experience. As well as not entirely unreasonable notions of how many projects are dependent on the presence of white men and women to get the go-ahead. But for this to happen the Centre needs to honest about its grievances.Thus any revised partnership must prioritise the needs of the host nation’s citizenry. Pakistan is not yet ready to go it alone. * Published in Daily Times, October 6th 2018.