Human rights organization banned in Gilgit-Baltistan

Gilgit: A Human rights organization, working on women and children's issues was banned by the government of Gilgit-Baltistan, due to the pressure of Muslim extremist groups, the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) said.

According to the statement, the government through a notification asked the Association of Global Humanists and Ethics (AGHE) to immediately close down all its activities including imparting education to girls.

The orders regarding the banning all the activities of AGHE was not delivered to it nor was it verbally informed but a letter was issued to all the deputy commissioners and police officers of various districts. The letter was written two years ago but was issued on February 25, 2013.

This is the shameful act of a civilian and elected government of Gilgit-Baltistan which follows the footsteps of military governments to appease the Muslim fundamentalist and sectarian organisations.


The Association of Global Humanists and Ethics (AGHE) Pakistan has been working in the country for many years. It was registered in 2005 under the Voluntary Social Welfare Agencies (Registration and Control Ordinance1961 (XLV OF Pakistan). Its registration number (2005) JC-16 (91) and was registered on September 26, 2005.

The AGHE is working in various districts of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) on the issues of tolerance in society, women rights, girl's education in far flung areas, child rights and peace building. The work of AGHE was never appreciated by the Muslim fundamentalist groups particularly the girl’s education when they found that villagers started sending girls in large numbers for the educational activities of AGHE.

For some years the sectarian and fundamentalist organizations started a movement against the AGHE and came out with advertisements and wall chalking maligning it as a foreign organization and that through education they are implementing the agenda of western countries.

The government of GB in its policy of appeasement towards the fundamentalists, who have killed many people in sectarian violence, has decided to ban the activities of AGHE. The government through its deputy directorate on interior department issued a letter on February 25 to the deputy commissioners and high police officers of various districts informing them that all activities of AGHE are banned with immediate effect. The letter was written in 2011 but was issued under the tremendous pressure of fundamentalist on February 25, 2013. The letter was bearing number SOH-11/2011 which says that AGHE is no longer a registered organization and it requires a no objection certificate (NOC) from the economic division and finally it also requires an NOC from the government of GB.

The provincial government did not know that the organization was registered in 2005 but was asked to register it and get the no objection from the Economics Affairs Division.

The administration issued a discriminated order only for AGHE to get the No Objection Certification from the inline departments which was meant to create bureaucratic hurdles for the NGO. Last week it appealed to the President of Pakistan and the Prime Minister for effective legislation especially on women rights in Gilgit-Baltistan. It is also a fact that there are hundreds of other local NGOs working in Gilgit-Baltistan and dozen of them are funded by various international donors including USAID but the Home Department specially targeted AGHE and ordered to stop it operations

The AGHE officials have been under serious pressure by various government agencies for some months now to stop their USAID funded projects which are Citizens’ Voice for Effective Legislative Governance in Gilgit-Baltistan and small funding issued under the USAID and Aurat Foundation’s Gender Equity Program.

The action of the government of GB is on the one hand is vindictive because they do not want to provide the people in the health and education sectors and failed to control the killings of Shia community, the second largest sect of Islam. The fundamentalist groups have grown strong because of the government’s policy of appeasement towards the fundamentalists.

The action of the provincial government against the AGHE is to deprive the people of GB to enjoy their fundamental and basic rights which the constitution of Pakistan guarantees them. The action is uncalled for, illegal and supra constitutional. This action also strengthens the fundamentalist groups who are intimidating and killing people from different sects in the name of Islam. This is nothing but further appeasement of the fundamentalists.