Following India’s Lead, Pakistan Raises Concerns Over CFTK Activities and ATO Compliance

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CFTK), a leading US advocacy organization, has come under question in many countries for deviating from its agenda and indulging in activities that concern the national security of the countries.

CFTK collaborates with former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg to combat tobacco use globally. The organization provides legal, communication, and research support to governments and NGOs worldwide to promote and implement tobacco control policies.

CFTK is also present in Pakistan and India, where they have been accused of indulging in activities like bribery, influencing government policies, and corruption.

CFTK India has been placed under the prior reference category (PRC) by the Indian government. This move means that international donations to CFTK in India will now require approval from authorities before being utilized. The decision was influenced by lobbying efforts by domestic non-governmental organizations (NGOs) against the tobacco industry.

It’s important to note that several NGOs in India, including Oxfam India, have lost their Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) licenses due to misuse of foreign funds. The FCRA license is granted by the Indian home ministry to NGOs and think tanks for five years, and their applications are reviewed based on annual returns and foreign grants received for their intended purposes.

Similarly in Pakistan, according to Pakistan law, it is mandatory for any INGO to register in Ministry of Interior after security clearance from the intelligence agencies. No INGOs can operate in Pakistan without security clearance and registration with Ministry of Interior.

The INGOs are bound to apply in MoI with details of their projects and it can operate in the country after the security clearance from law enforcement and intelligence agencies. In a shocking revelation, it has been learnt that two INGOs Tobacco Free Kids and Vital Strategies are operating in Pakistan without mandatory registration with Ministry of Interior.

In the past various INGOs were found in spying and affairs against the State of Pakistan. Especially an INGO working in the health sector was found guilty in executing a fake health related campaign in Abbottabad and was involved in spying near military establishments.

Also Pakistan was removed from the FATF grey list in October 2022 after significant improvements in the overall anti-money laundering (AML) / counter-terrorist financing (CFT) framework and cannot risk FATF scare again since IMF bailouts are on the cards.

It’s very strange that the government departments and ministries are working directly and indirectly with these two unregistered illegal INGOs i.e Tobacco Free Kids and Vital Strategy, sources added.

Sources said that these illegal INGOs are also working with various ministries, government institutions and local NGOs and provide them technical and financial assistance in various projects. As per laws, it is illegal for any government institution or ministry to work with any INGOs which is not registered with the ministry of interior.

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