Thursday, October 6, 2022

Interior ministry asked to act against DRF, Nighat Dad over ‘misuse of foreign funds’


ISLAMABAD: A complaint has been submitted to the interior ministry seeking action against a non-governmental organization (NGO), Digital Rights Foundation (DRF), and its Executive Director Nighat Dad over alleged misuse of foreign funds, ARY NEWS reported on Wednesday.

The DRF has registered itself as an NGO defending online freedom of expression and the right to privacy for women, minorities and dissidents and is managed by its Executive Director Nighat Dad.

A complaint submitted to the interior ministry demanded the authorities to immediately suspend the governing body of the NGO and take action against office bearers of the DRF, accusing it of receiving heavy foreign funding but evading registration, audit of the funds and tax payment.

The complaint submitted to the ministry accused the Digital Rights Foundation of receiving heavy funding from national and international donors.

The complaint cited a government policy that makes it mandatory for the NGOs receiving foreign funds to get themselves register with the authorities. The DRF was accused of neither getting itself registered nor carrying out an audit of the funds.

The application blamed the DRF Executive Director Nighat Dad for allegedly involved in illegal use and embezzlement of the funds received from foreign companies. It further noted that if Nighat Dad was not barred then the funds could allegedly end up being used for an illegal act.

The DRF is also exempted from the income tax, the complainant said while demanding the authorities to annul the exemption after the NGO has failed to provide details of its expenses.

The application further asked the government to immediately freeze assets and bank accounts of the DRF and carry out a forensic audit of its accounts besides also launching a thorough probe in this regard.

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It further asked the authorities to suspend the governing body of the DRF and take action against its Executive director Nighat Dad and other board members. Besides this, the complainant demanded that the affairs of the DRF should be run through an independent body unless a probe into the matter is being completed.

Responding to allegations against her, Nighat Dad admitted the use of foreign funding but claimed that the local NGOs are not bound to get themselves register with the interior ministry.

“We have submitted audit reports to the Registrar Joint Stock Companies till 2017 and later also submitted it to the Economic Affairs Division (EAD),” she said adding that the details of all funding are available in the records submitted to the EAD and the government.


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