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PIPS researcher attended CGCC regional working group meeting at Bangkok.

Abdul Basit, a researcher at PIPS, attended a regional workshop organized by Center on Global Counterterrorism Cooperation on ‘preventing abuse of the non-profit sector for the purposes of terrorist financing’ held at Bangkok, Thailand from 21-23 March 2011. He represented Non-Profit Organizations (NPOs) sector of Pakistan in the meeting. The workshop was attended by NPO members of six South and Southeast Asian countries namely Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Malaysia, Thailand and Philippines.

The participants of workshop noted that NPO sector in South and South East Asian countries was vulnerable to exploitation by terrorist organizations; be it related to terrorist financing or other forms of manipulation. However, the level of such threat varies across the region. Despite having some similarities the level of such threats to NPO sector is context-bound and country specific. For instance the magnitude of such threat may be higher in Pakistan than in Malaysia or Philippines.

A need was stressed for evolving self-monitoring mechanisms within NPO sector to ensure optimal level of accountability and transparency. As such endeavors will remove misgivings and mistrust between governments and non-governmental organizations. Moreover such measures would not only ensure judicious utilization of allocated funds but it will minimize the chances of NPO sector’s exploitation by terrorist groups.

With a unanimous concern participants also asserted that despite being vulnerable and prone to terrorist exploitation the utility of NPO sector cannot be undermined. So under the pretext of national security states must not squeeze the space of NPOs through over-regulation.