The Lahore High Court on Thursday issued notices to the attorney general of Pakistan and advocate general of Punjab on a petition challenging the Punjab Charity Act 2018 being unconstitutional.
The Human Rights Commision of Pakistan (HRCP) along with other host of petitioner organizations has challenged the Punjab Charity Act 2018 in LHC.
On Monday’s hearing Hina Jillani the lead counsel of all the petitioners presented her arguments in the court of Hon Justice Shahid Karim.
She challenged the Law on several ground mainly that the law violates section 17 of the constitution and imposes unreasonable restrictions on NGOs.
Several clauses of the law are intrusive in nature and provide general, vague and overarching powers to the registration authority.
It imposes compulsory registration provisions on NGOs already registered under different under laws. Ironically any organization fails to register under the law will be imposed 6-month imprisonment.
She also argued that authorities are already using this law to malign, harass and target NGOs especially those working for rights and democracy.
Hina Jillani also argued that government passed this law in a haste to fulfil requirements of FATF. However, FATF conditions clearly suggest risk-based approach for controlling organizations at risk for being used for terror financing.
By including such organizations working on rights and justice and now obtaining public donations clearly show mala-fide intent of controlling dissent, critical voices.
The counsel was of the view that the law clearly curbs freedom of association and expression guaranteed under the constitution, international covenants and judgments of the superior courts.