Chitral — Failure of good governance in Pakistan led to the sprouting of foreign funded NGOs in the early 1980s. These NGOs initially selected soft areas like Chitral district and Northern areas to commence their operations. Ever since there is no looking back. NGOs with fancy names (at times difficult to pronounce even their abbreviations) have spread like wild mushrooms across Pakistan targeting mostly backward areas, but now many in the major cities of Pakistan too.
The primary objective of an NGO is to provide welfare service to people in areas where the government has not done much, but have they been successful in doing so is a debatable question. Taking an example of Chitral district which has probably the highest per capita NGO density in the world, but collaterally it also has a similarly high per capita quantum of unsolved problems too.
What have the NGOs done in these many decades that they have been functioning compared to the donations made to them by international donors can be debated. According to one dissapointed Chitrali if all the money doled out to the NGOs by international donors since their inception was distributed as cash amongst individual Chitralis, every person would have been a multi millionaire and they could have contributed from this money to get developmental works done and supervised them as they would have personally been involved in such affairs. The present system of working of NGOs through selected committees is not the best system, rather a cause of creation of mafias and sub mafias.
Presently the total incompetence and ineffectiveness of the government makes the NGOs seem a better hope. This phenomenon can be correlated to the mindset of the people in Pakistan who after getting a good thrashing from a certain government (PPP) opt to vote for the PMLN government in next elections and after getting thrashed by them get back to the PPP government, perpetually trying to find which is the lesser evil. This phenomenon is also seen in the correlation between the government and NGOs. Whenever there is a failure somewhere, the government puts the blame on the NGOs and vice versa.
An honorable and self esteemed nation should have an honest, efficient and trustworthy government. If it cannot manage that, then the NGOs that replace it would be no different. — CN Editorial, 14 June 2017