LAHORE - Amid all the overstatements about following National Action Plan, the government is yet unable to explore the functioning and funding of thousands of NGOs active in Punjab.

Over 23000 NGOs are registered with the Industries department which keeps their details under different laws. Interestingly, many of these laws do not really empower the government to ban them at any point. In the absence of any legal provision to ban rogue NGOs, the NAP should not be considered a story of absolute success.

Sources say new laws are on the cards to check the activities of the NGOs working across Punjab. At the moment, only the Social Welfare department is empowered by the law to ban or dissolve any rogue NGO.

The Punjab government initiated an exercise to trace out the registered organisations after the Supreme Court issued directives to dig out funding and functioning of different NGOs in the province.

As per data available with The Nation, 23748 societies, 16389 seminaries have been registered while number of number of NGOs registered under companies Ordinance 1984 are 184. Moreover, 967 churches, 265 Imam Bargahs and 13574 mosques are also listed in the government registers.

“The department had duly written that the department had no record of their funding because they never come up to it after their registration. Moreover, under the relevant laws, the Industries department could not de-register them as the Social Welfare department has done,” the sources told The Nation.

Interestingly, the government knows only the number of registered NGOs but not their funding, functioning, current position, audit report, or anything like performance.

According to the sources, the Punjab government has already started action against the suspected seminaries which are being scrutinised and included in the watch-list. Reportedly, the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) Punjab has also prepared a list of 186 seminaries and different law enforcing agencies have been monitoring them.

The Punjab government has already deregistered 525 NGOs as they failed to respond to the notices. Till October 10, 99 NGOs were de-registered in district Gujrat only.

As per the Societies Registration Act, 1860, all the religious seminaries shall not operate without getting themselves registered. This law forces them to submit annual report of its educational activities to the Registrar, shall cause to be carried out audit of its accounts by an auditor and submit a copy of its audit report to the Registrar. Moreover, no Madrassah shall teach or publish any literature which promotes militancy or spreads sectarianism or religious hatred.