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Pak suspends order asking `Save the Children` to leave

Last Updated: Monday, September 10, 2012 - 15:46

Islamabad: Days after it had ordered the expulsion of foreign staff of a British non-governmental organisation, Pakistan has "temporarily suspended" the order.

The order asking foreign staff of `Save the Children` to leave Pakistan was apparently linked to reports that it had ties to a doctor who helped the CIA track Osama bin Laden.

The order for the expulsion of the foreign staff of `Save the Children` had been temporarily suspended, a spokesperson for the Interior Ministry told The Express Tribune.

The move followed an announcement by Interior Minister Rehman Malik a day ago.

The Interior Ministry had ordered all expatriate staff of `Save the Children` to leave Pakistan last week.

Activists of rights groups said the move appeared to be linked to the US operation that killed bin Laden in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad last year.

Pakistani intelligence officials have claimed that Shakeel Afridi, a doctor who helped the CIA track bin Laden, was introduced to American intelligence operatives by `Save the Children` workers.

Save the Children welcomed the announcement by Interior Minister Malik to suspend the order revoking the visas of its six expatriate staff.

In a statement sent to the media, the NGO`s spokesman Ghulam Qadri said: "This provides an opportunity to continue our discussions with the government to clarify any misunderstandings about our work in Pakistan".

"We categorically deny media reports linking us to the CIA or Dr Afridi. These allegations are untrue and there is no evidence to support them," he said.

"Save the Children has never conducted a vaccination campaign in Abbottabad or in any other part of the country," he said.

Qadri said the organisation has been "cooperating fully with the Abbottabad Commission and the government agencies throughout their investigation".


First Published: Monday, September 10, 2012 - 15:46

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