Adriano Campolina, Secretary General of ActionAid International, says:
“Pakistan’s decision to shut down ActionAid and other International NGOs is a worrying escalation of recent attacks on civil society, academics and journalists.
“The immediate victims will be the thousands of ordinary Pakistani families who ActionAid has been supporting to claim their rights and build a better life. If these trends continue, Pakistan’s hard-won democracy itself will be the ultimate victim.
“Pakistan has the world’s sixth biggest population, but a fifth of the people are still living in poverty. Women face massive challenges in Pakistani society. Although women make up the majority of the agricultural workforce, men own most of the land. ActionAid has been supporting the people of Pakistan for more than 25 years. We help vulnerable groups including women, street children and people with disabilities. We campaign for women to be able to inherit and control land so they can have economic independence, and we help them learn to read and write.
“We are devastated that this life-changing support is now under threat, and we are taking legal advice on potential next steps. In the meantime we are providing support to our staff and partners on the ground.”