Pakistan Ranks High on Philanthropy

"Righteousness is not that ye turn your faces towards the east or the west, but righteousness is, one who believes in God, and the last day, and the angels, and the Book, and the prophets, and who gives wealth for His love to kindred, and orphans, and the poor, and the son of the road, beggars, and those in captivity; and who is steadfast in prayers, and gives alms." Quran 2:177

More Pakistanis gave to charities and the country saw the "largest jump in the rankings globally of 108 places, moving from 142nd to 34th in 2011", according to World Giving Index 2011. The report compiled by Charities Aid Foundation points out that "the floods did not lead to Pakistan's twenty-six percentage point rise in its World Giving Index score" because the survey was conducted before the 2010 floods.

World Giving Index Rankings in South Asia



The United States is ranked as the most generous in the world for charitable giving. Sri Lanka, ranking 8th in the world, leads philanthropy South Asia region. It is followed by Pakistan (ranked 34th globally) in second place, Bangladesh (ranked 78 globally) in third place, Nepal (ranked 84 globally) in fourth place, and India (ranked 91 globally) in last place.

It appears that the country scores in the World Giving Index reflect the breadth of participation rather than the amount of money given as percentage of income or gdp. Here's how the report explains it:

In order to reflect a culturally diverse planet, the report looks at three aspects of giving behavior. The questions that feed the report are:

1. Donated money to a charity?
2. Volunteered your time to an organization?
3. Helped a stranger, or someone you didn't know who needed help?


Pakistan does well in South Asia in terms of the percentage of gdp given as charity as well. Given the lack of full documentation, the estimates of giving in Pakistan range from a low of 1% to a high of 5% of GDP. The upper end of 5% is more than twice the 2.2% of gdp annually contributed by Americans who lead in the world in giving.

The low end of the estimate is by PCP that says Pakistanis contributed Rs.140 billion (US$1.7 billion), nearly 1% of the nation's gross domestic product of $170 billion in 2009.

The upper end of the estimate of 5% of GDP comes from Professor Anatol Lieven in his book Pakistan-A Hard Country. Lieven argues that the "levels of trust in Pakistani state institutions are extremely low, and for good reason. Partly in consequence, Pakistan has one of the lowest levels of tax collection outside Africa. On the other hand, charitable donations, at almost 5% of GDP, is one of the highest rates in the world".

The donations help organizations like Khana Ghar that feeds the hungry, Edhi Foundation which operates non-profit ambulance service, The Citizens Foundation which runs 700 schools serving 100,000 poor students, and Human Development Foundation which builds and operates schools and clinics for the poor.

Lieven lauds the work of TCF and several other charitable organizations, but he singles out Edhi Foundation for his most effusive praise of Pakistan's strong civil society filling the gaps left by the corrupt and incompetent government:

"There is no sight in Pakistan more moving than to visit some dusty, impoverished small town in arid wasteland, apparently abandoned by God and all sensible men and certainly abandoned by the Pakistani state and its own elected representatives- to see the flag of the Edhi Foundation flying over a concrete shack with a telephone, and the only ambulance in town standing in front. Here, if anywhere in Pakistan, lies the truth of human religion and human morality".

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Philanthropy in Pakistan

Pakistan-A Hard Country

World Giving Index Report 2011

How Can Overseas Pakistanis Help Flood Victims?

Light a Candle, Don't Curse Darkness

Pakistan Center for Philanthropy

An Overview of Indian Philanthropy

Aaker Patel on Philathropy

Orangi Pilot Project

Three Cups of Tea

Volunteerism in America

Dr. Akhtar Hamid Khan's Vision

Comments

Riaz Haq said…
Here's an Express Tribune story on community service requirement at elite schools in Pakistan:

The Social Service Society of Foundation Public School’s (FPS) A-Level campus is working on making this kind of work mandatory for all A-Level schools in the city.

According to Muneer Iqbal, the chairperson of the society, he and his peers are already in touch with students from other schools to push for this demand. Meanwhile, the school’s society plans to publicise the cause at events in different schools. “As youngsters, we should contribute to the society by helping those who are in need,” Iqbal said.

At the FPS A-Levels campus, all of the 120 first-year students have to do mandatory community service of 30 hours to be able to pass to the second year. They are free to choose what kind of work they want to do.

They can, for example, teach at government schools, tend to the elderly at shelter homes, or spend time with the mentally or physically challenged or those suffering from life-threatening diseases.

“Community service is greatly needed at government schools because they are in a deplorable state,” said Iqbal. “If educated people like us step forward, we can make a huge difference.”

Another student, Hamza Masood, also at FPS, believes that community service also gives students applying to universities abroad an edge. “Foreign universities prefer students who have done social service,” he said. “Even the top universities in Pakistan, like the Lahore University of Management Sciences, give credit to social service.”

But Masood does not do charity work because it will get him admission to a foreign university. According to him, at the end of the day it is satisfaction that one gets from helping the people that matters.

“I went to Dar ul Sukoon five months after I did community service there,” he said. “I was delighted when two children recognised me and called me by my name. They made me realise that our visits meant a lot to them.”

It seemed like students of other A-Level schools feel the same way. Saba Basit, who studies at Nixor College, believes that students should be made aware of how important serving the community was.

“Community service should be made mandatory but students should know what they are doing is important for the community rather than it being imposed upon them,” said Basit. “Social service does not only mean going to hospitals or old homes. It means that we can also help others in our neighborhoods as well.”....


http://tribune.com.pk/story/323138/small-ideas-big-impact-foundation-public-school-wants-mandatory-charity-at-a-levels/#comment-520994
Riaz Haq said…
Proctor & Gamble Pakistan wins award for corp social responsibility, reports The News:

The US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton presented Proctor & Gamble (P&G) with the thirteenth annual Secretary of State’s Award for Corporate Excellence (ACE) for the company’s exceptional corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts in Pakistan.

Bob McDonald, Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Proctor & Gamble Company accepted the award in a ceremony held at the State Department in Washington, DC on Wednesday.

US Consul General in Karachi William Martin and P&G Pakistan Country Manager Faisal Sabzwari joined the ceremony in Washington via digital video conferencing.

Addressing a news conference at the Karachi Consulate, Martin said that this was the first time that a firm based in Pakistan had received this prestigious award.

He said this recognition is likely to help boost foreign investments in Pakistan as international organisations are bound to take notice of the quality work being conducted in the country. He stated that this award signified the interest American investors have in Pakistan.

He further said that this award had been presented to a firm run and managed by Pakistanis which highlights the progressive social attitude of the people here. Sabzwari said that P&G Pakistan had made massive investments in the country, the last one being a $40 million investment into a laundry manufacturing facility.

He also mentioned the new plant established by the organisation in Port Qasim. Speaking about the award, he said that this year, 62 nominations were received for American companies operating in 38 different countries. Of these, some 13 companies were selected as award finalists. P&G Pakistan and Nigeria were selected as the winners among this group.

P&G Pakistan was awarded the ACE for the company’s efforts under its ‘Live, Learn, and Thrive’ CSR programme, including humanitarian assistance efforts to provide clean drinking water, food, hygiene products. It also made medical care available to over 1.9 million affected residents after the devastating 2010 floods. It also established a network of schools and supported orphanages. “A total contribution of over $2 million was made in flood aid,” he said.


http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=88426&Cat=3
Riaz Haq said…
Here's an excerpt from a recent Boston Globe Op Ed on US-Pakistan relations:

Pakistan is a country in which social entrepreneurs and businesses fill urgent public needs. As one Pakistani told us, “We are a culture of problem solvers, and we are a country of entrepreneurs.’’ Despite violence, corruption, weak governance, and many social challenges, this country of more than 180 million has moved forward in growing its economy. Many Pakistanis are investing in their own and their country’s future - small business owners, industrialists, social entrepreneurs, and investors - under deeply challenging circumstances and not without risk.

In a country where public services are in shambles, private-sector innovations are abundant - in agriculture, education, health, social services delivery, and IT. We met middle-class families running schools, philanthropists building universities and hospitals, investors increasing their investment inside Pakistan, and CEOs whose businesses are thriving. Nestle has one of its largest dairy production facilities in the world based in Pakistan. And as Pepsi notes, the second-largest consumer of Mountain Dew in the world after the United States is Pakistan.

The US Chamber of Commerce and the Pakistan Business Council could promote dialogue, explore business ventures, and identify opportunities for mutually profitable market development. Our networks of entrepreneurs and businesses can forge relationships with counterpart networks in Pakistan to find opportunities for collaboration and joint investment, information exchange, and mentoring.

Another area that offers great potential is the opportunity to support Pakistanis in deepening their ongoing democratic transition. Parliamentary elections tentatively set for next year offer an opportunity for Pakistan to hold the second legitimate democratic elections in a row for the first time since the country was founded in 1947. The opportunity for citizen engagement and cooperation comes as US and Pakistani civil society organizations work together to address a wide range of challenges in Pakistan, including good governance, religious pluralism, and women’s rights.

Pakistan’s media - increasingly free and vocal – are interested in exchanging views with American counterparts on how to better educate the public and hold those in power accountable.

For the past two years, the United States has engaged the Pakistani government in several rounds of a strategic dialogue, and tripled the funding for non-military assistance to Pakistan. But because of the Afghanistan war and the threats posed by Al Qaeda and its affiliates, the US government also adopted a more aggressive military strategy in Pakistan, including the controversial drone strikes.

The efforts to move beyond a transactional relationship with Pakistan fell short, however, not just because of what the governments did or did not do. They fell short because governments are constrained in what they can achieve given how they view the threats posed to their citizens.

Without greater citizen involvement to deepen our ties, the United States and Pakistan will remain trapped in mutual mistrust.


http://bostonglobe.com/opinion/2012/02/25/shock-absorbers-for-pakistan/7baJKG7N3rwKnzkumED2HK/story.html
Riaz Haq said…
Citibank Pakistan recognized for corporate responsibility, reports Pak Observer:

Islamabad—Citi Pakistan has been awarded the ‘Best Community Program’ Award for its pioneering work in microfinance and vocational training at the International CSR Awards 2012. This award comes on the heels of two global awards that Citi Pakistan received at the Global CSR Summit and at the Asian CSR Awards in 2011, for its corporate citizenship initiatives in Pakistan. The bank has been focusing its programs on microentrepreneurship for vulnerable groups, including helping female entrepreneurs set up businesses. This is evidenced through the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards (CMA) program which has been run in association with the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) for the past (8) years through an annual grant provided by the Citi Foundation.

Now in 28 countries, CMA promotes the effective role that individual microentrepeneurs have made to the economic sustainability of their families as well as their communities. This year also marks the completion of Citi’s flood relief efforts in Pakistan to provide reconstruction and rehabilitation for affectees of the 2010-11 disaster. ‘This award is a solid recognition of our commitment to responsible finance in the country, particularly through meaningful microfinance and income-generation programs,’ said Aliuddin Ahmed, Acting Citi Country Officer for Pakistan. ‘Our community projects in Pakistan aim to create sustainable small-scale businesses with clear and measurable objectives and good process tools attached to all our social responsibility initiatives.’

The bank has had a continuous presence in Pakistan over the last 50 years and remains fully committed to serving its corporate clients and retail customers in the country, as well as fulfilling its role as a responsible corporate citizen. As it marks its 200thanniversary this year, Citi is considered to be the world’s global bank and a key partner-in-progress by public sector entities, top corporations and MNCs that operate in Pakistan and elsewhere in the region.


http://pakobserver.net/detailnews.asp?id=153685
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan, having poor social and economic indicators, tops the list of charity giving countries. This was confirmed in a research study by Aga Khan Foundation in 1998, which revealed that most Pakistanis give away charity or volunteer time every year, amounting to Rs 70 billion. This amount might have increased manifold over the period as Pakistan’s GDP growth has been on an average 4 per cent per annum.

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The private sector’s charitable organisations, some reputable hospitals or welfare entities also collect zakat and other donations. Reputable organisations like Edhi Foundation, Chhipa Welfare Association, Alamgir Welfare Trust, Indus Hospital Karachi, Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT) of Civil Hospital Karachi, Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust, Layton Rahmatulla Benevolent Trust (LRBT), The Citizens Foundation, and scores of others in different parts of Pakistan.
They often make an appeal to the general public in the media or through other modes of advertisement for donations from zakat, ahead of Ramzan. Some faith-based or community-based charity organisations are also working effectively and efficiently in Pakistan and they also accept donations.
Prominent among them are Al Khidmat Foundation — welfare wing of Jamaat-e-Islami; Khidmat Khalq Foundation — welfare organisation of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Caritas — Pakistan’s branch of the international Catholic organisation, Jamiat-e-Punjabi-Saudagaran-e-Delhi, Aga Khan Development Network, Pakistan Hindu Council, etc.
As no official data or record is available to quantify the size of individual charity in Pakistan, it is estimated that at least Rs 400 billion is given away by individuals every year in Pakistan as charity from zakat, sadqa or donations.
Read also: On-screen Ramzan
According to Dr Siddiqi, the bulk of zakat money is given to individuals or relatives or people in dire need whereas a big portion of zakat goes to madrassas, also in an undocumented mode because of the religious belief that charity must be given secretly.
The mechanism of distributing charity money is still primitive and traditional in Pakistan. One can recall that in October 2014 around eight to ten dacoits had looted an Edhi centre in Mithadar Karachi and whisked away five kilogrammes of gold and currency worth Rs 20 million (including some foreign currency).
The money is either deposited as charity or as “amanat” at the Edhi centre, which runs the largest ambulance service in Pakistan, besides running old age homes, orphanages, etc. With such a huge network of ambulance operation across Pakistan the management style of Edhi Foundation is quite inclusive in nature. Maulana Abdus Sattar Edhi is currently ill and his son Faisal and daughter Kubra Edhi are personally handling all finance related operations of Edhi Foundation.
Similarly, many other organisations in Karachi like Chhipa Welfare Association and Sailani Welfare Trust, Alamgir Welfare Trust are some other organisations doing excellent charity work in Karachi city by not only providing free food and ambulances (by Chhipa) and healthcare support and provision of interest-free loans or equipment to youth for starting their own businesses (by Alamgir).
But no audited accounts of these organisations are available. As against these reputable organisations, some other major organisations like LRBT, The Citizens Foundation, or Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust manage their audited accounts and the details are available on their websites.

http://tns.thenews.com.pk/ramzan-as-usual-in-pakistan/#.Vaaf0ipViko
Riaz Haq said…
The month of Ramadan is entering into its last quarter, and that is increasing philanthropy activities in Pakistan. Muslims during this holy month of Ramadan usually not only fast, but also do charity work, because it is said that Muslims should help Muslims, as well as non-Muslims, who are needy. There are many compensatory duties regarding charity in Islam, including Zakat and Fitrana. Both are usually done in this month of Ramadan.

Zakat al-Fitr is charity given to the poor at the end of the fasting in the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. The word Fitr means the same as Iftar - breaking a fast - and it comes from the same root word as Futoor, which means breakfast.

The main purpose of Zakat al-Fitr is to provide the poor with a means with which they can celebrate the festival of breaking the fast (Eid al-Fitr) along with the rest of the Muslims.

Every Muslim is required to pay Zakat al-Fitr at the conclusion of the month of Ramadan as a token of thankfulness to God for having enabled him or her to observe the obligatory fast.

The significant role played by Zakat in the circulation of wealth within the Islamic society is also played by the Sadaqat al-Fitr. However, in the case of Sadaqat al-Fitr, each individual is required to calculate how much charity is due from himself and his dependents, and to go into the community in order to find those who deserve such charity. Thus, Sadaqat al-Fitr plays a very important role in the development of the bonds of community.

The rich are obliged to come in direct contact with the poor, and the poor are put in contact with the extremely poor. This contact between the various levels of society helps to build real bonds of brotherhood and love within the Islamic community and trains those who have, to be generous to those who do not have.

Several organizations, like Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Charity Foundation, Edhi Foundation, Sahara Foundation, and the Red Crescent Authority, have taken the lead in this noble task of serving the deserving people by organizing Iftar programs.

Charities are coming from immigrant Pakistanis from all over the world, particularly from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Meanwhile some foreign organizations are also doing charities and providing food, clothes, and even medicines to poor and needy people. In such activities, the UAE embassy in Islamabad is leading, compared to any other foreign organization.

These Iftar programs are being held in compliance with the directive of the President of the UAE, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and the UAE has been purposefully engaged in Iftar programs, which besides provision of food stuff, readymade meals are also included in distribution of alms and clothes to orphan children and the needy on the eve of Eid ul Fitr. The UAE ambassador to Islamabad Essa Abdulla Al Basha Al Noauimi, since the beginning of the holy month, has been distributing among needy families, large quantities of dates, which were sent by the UAE Red Crescent. At least 50,000 tons of dates have been distributed across the country as part of its continuing Ramadan programs, it said.

A delegation of the Khalifa Charity Foundation specially flew into Pakistan to distribute twenty tons of dates and 150,000 bags of flour in some districts of southern Punjab and the Balochistan provinces.

Another initiative was launched by the Director of the “UAE Project to Assist Pakistan," Abdulla Al Ghafli, under which a consignment of 160 tons of flour were transported to Khyber Pukhtoonkhaw. This was meant for the families of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who had to leave their homes as a result of the military operation against the militants in South Waziristan. The IDPs had to take shelter in camps in KPK, and this project would benefit about 20,000 such families.

http://www.eturbonews.com/30545/during-ramadan-charity-coming-different-countries-pakistan
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan to develop #CSR framework for public-private partnership for social sector investments and #HDI growth http://www.dawn.com/news/1229464

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will help Pakistan develop best practices models to strengthen collaboration between the government, businesses and civil society organisations for the delivery of social services and poverty reduction.

The ADB assistance will lead to developing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) frameworks and partnership models for effective linkages between public, private and civil society sectors.

The models aims to ‘building capacity of key stakeholders to strengthen partnerships; and establishing philanthropy and civil society organisation (CSO) networks to facilitate sustainable governance structures to contribute to inclusive social sector development and poverty alleviation in Pakistan’.

The ADB technical assistance will also enhance the capacity for resource mobilisation and CSR contribution of private sector and SCOs in Pakistan, according to ADB.

“Pakistan has experienced periods of strong economic growth. However, the resilience of the economy has been tested by exogenous and endogenous shocks and periods of macroeconomic instability. Sustainable social development and poverty alleviation has lagged behind economic growth,” the bank noted.

Pakistan ranks 146th out of 186 countries on the Human Development Index (HDI). Its progress in HDI and achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were below many peer countries.

Pakistan’s expenditure on social sector at 0.8 per cent on health and 1.8pc on education is very low by world standards. The result is a large social sector deficit which is a drag on sustainable, inclusive economic growth and poverty alleviation, and creates risks to social stability.

It is clear that the magnitude of the social sector service delivery is beyond the fiscal and institutional capacity of the government, thus other alternatives must be considered to help achieve sustainable development.

In other countries, efforts are being made to create productive and viable linkages with key stakeholders such as the private sector and the civil society to ensure attainment of development goals. This may be a viable option for Pakistan as well.

To mobilise additional CSR and corporate philanthropy and to enhance its effectiveness, it is essential to identify best CSR practices and models, CSO implementing partners, and to form strong and credible linkages between government, philanthropists and civil society.

In order to enhance CSR for inclusive growth in Pakistan, it is crucial to generate relevant knowledge, form synergies, and create an enabling environment where these three segments of society work in partnership.

The ingredients exist to strengthen business and CSO contributions to overall social development and sector service improvement. Pakistan is a giving society, as indicated in several studies.

Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan cricket team to wear #Edhi Charitable Foundation’s logo on #England tour

http://en.dailypakistan.com.pk/sports/pakistan-to-wear-edhi-foundations-logo-on-england-tour/


Pakistani cricketers will wear the logo of Edhi foundation on their playing shirts during the tour of England.

While addressing a ceremony to endorse the charitable organisation, Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Shahayar Khan said that Edhi sahab deserved to get Nobel Award for his lifelong services to the humanity. He said that the Edhi foundation has tirelessly served the humanity.

Khan said that International Cricket Council (ICC) has granted Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) permission to don the Edhi foundation’s logo on Pakistan cricket team’s official kit.

The tour of England will begin with four Test matches starting next month, with the first match being played at Lord’s cricket ground in London on July 14.
Riaz Haq said…
The rise of NGO's and their harmful impact on Pakistan

http://herald.dawn.com/news/1152863

The extraordinary growth that NGOs have experienced in recent years in their numbers, their outreach and their resources is unprecedented even by Pakistani standards. The number of active NGOs in the country is, at the very least, anywhere between 100,000 to 150,000, investigations by the Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy (PCP), a certification organisation for NGOs and charity institutions, reveal. By this count, there is at least one NGO for every 2,000 people. Way back in 2001, a Civil Society Index put together by the Aga Khan Foundation in Pakistan, in coordination with Civicus, an international alliance of civil society groups, put the number of “active and registered NGOs in Pakistan” at “around 10,000 to 12,000”.

The phenomenal rise in the number of NGOs could be linked to the massive injection of foreign money, especially donations and grants – and sometimes even loans – into Pakistan since 2001 (the United States alone has provided more than 10 billion dollars during these years). A major part of this money came into Pakistan due to the peculiar political and economic situation in the country. We have been through multiple violent conflicts during the last decade and a half; we have been transitioning from a dictatorship to a controlled democracy to a fully functional democracy, and our economy has been undergoing massive liberalisation. All this necessitated that foreigners came in to help with expertise and money to take Pakistan and Pakistanis through this troubled period of our history.

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If money is any guide, charitable NGOs, which live on the generosity of local donors, receive an estimated 70 billion rupees every year, according to Malik Babur Javed, a senior programme manager at PCP. These organisations do not include all those thousands of NGOs which receive money from the Pakistani government, international charities, the governments of other countries and multilateral forums like the United Nations institutions.

Sadiqa Salahuddin, the director of Karachi-based NGO Indus Resource Centre, which has been active in poverty alleviation and disaster relief and mitigation in rural Sindh for more than 20 years, says the presence of large amounts of money creates major issues of both capacity and corruption within NGOs, even when they genuinely want to carry out development activities. She cites the instance of her own NGO which received an unprecedented amount of funds to provide relief to the victims of the 2010 floods.

The disaster called for quick disbursal and management of vast resources which her NGO was not prepared for, she says. Having her base in Karachi but working in Dadu district, she found coordination and management a tough task. “It drove me crazy. I would go to Dadu myself every week.” Even this was not always helpful. In one instance, going through the statement of expenses spent on flood relief, she found “83,000 rupees spent on toothpastes”. She would find many errors in computation of prices and other procedural irregularities, simply because she did not have enough skilled and motivated staff to handle such assignments in a challenging post-disaster environment.

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Critics have been quick to point out that NGOs themselves don’t practice what they preach. They say NGOs avoid accountability and transparency as much as they possibly can and, therefore, are quite averse to any form of regulation or oversight. With some large NGOs having become heavily corporatised entities, where staff earn market-based salaries and where foreign money flows in regularly, it is natural to expect some kind of transparency and accountability — to be able to ask if all those salaries are being paid to the right people and for the right purposes as well as to ensure that foreign funds are spent on the projects they are meant for.

Riaz Haq said…
Excerpt on "NGOs" and "Civil Society" from "Force Multipliers: The Instrumentalities of Imperialism" by Maximilian Forte:

Force Multipliers, partners, intermediaries, agents of change---all of these are contained in the State Department's language, as it perfectly echoes the terms in favour in the military. The State Department makes it plain that it intends to use NGOs abroad as tools of US foreign policy, frequently using "civil society" as a rhetorically pretentious cover:

" We will reach beyond governments to offer a place at the table to groups and citizens willing to shoulder a fair share of the burden. Our efforts to engage beyond the state begin with outreach to civil society--activists, organizations, congregations, journalists who work through peaceful means to make their countries better. While civil society is varied, many groups have common goals with the United States, and working with civil society be effective and efficient path to advance our foreign policy goals". (DoS, 2010, pp 21-22)


https://books.google.com/books?id=isS7CgAAQBAJ&pg=PA60&lpg=PA60&dq=hillary+clinton+on+state+department+ngos+civil+society&source=bl&ots=eFR0cCT_5R&sig=DfoQ3OkCEvDWU-X7Dr1QB-ZhtJ4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjjkPKT-pDRAhVFjVQKHSAtCqEQ6AEINzAE#v=onepage&q=hillary%20clinton%20on%20state%20department%20ngos%20civil%20society&f=false
Riaz Haq said…
In God we trust; in the government, not.

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/06/23/opinion/pakistan-ramzan-ramadan.html?smid=tw-share&referer=https://t.co/cpIhAewWIh


The Muslim holy month ends this weekend, and hey, happy Eid to everyone. Some people will be relieved. In the lead-up to it, many affluent people in Pakistan visit their bank and fill out a form asking to be exempted from having zakat, an Islamic charitable tax, deducted from their accounts. By law, during this period the government is entitled to collect zakat from people whose assets reach a minimum threshold, and place it in a welfare fund for the needy.

In the same month of Ramzan — known as Ramadan in the Middle East — people give billions of rupees to various charities. Zakat may be a pillar of Islam, but Pakistanis just don’t like handing their money over to the state.

In a country of about 200 million people only about half a million pay direct income tax, for example. Even Pakistanis who live in huge mansions, have four cars or spend a few million rupees on a wedding dress pay zero income tax.

If we give to the government, the logic goes, it’s just going to steal some more. And after stealing from us, government officials will head off to Mecca to redeem themselves in the eyes of God. So why not just go ahead and do our own stealing and redeeming?\

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In God we trust; in the government, not. Plus, the government can always go to the International Monetary Fund.

There is some merit to this view.

In Pakistan, some of the most basic functions of the state are performed by charities. If you are poor and have an accident or a medical emergency, the ambulance that takes you to the hospital probably was sent by a charitable organization. If you can’t pay for your medicine, it’s a welfare trust at the hospital that may help you out. You might even get a kidney for free.

If you live in a slum, your child might go to a school run by a bunch of do-gooders. If you are a daily wage laborer in the city, some nice folks will serve you a free lunch. If you see a wounded animal on the road, you can call a privately run shelter to pick it up.

If you die, chances are that your body will end up in a morgue run by a charitable trust. Your ride to the graveyard will be in a vehicle donated by some god-fearing, and probably tax-dodging, dude.

These charitable, god-fearing, tax-dodging souls become really generous in the holy month. During Ramzan, major Pakistani cities are overrun by beggars who travel from far-off rural areas to partake of the seasonal generosity.

Only there is less and less to go around. Last year in Karachi, I came across a family of eight from a village in southern Pakistan crammed into a tiny air-conditioned A.T.M. booth. They were taking refuge from the oppressive heat. How is the month going, I asked? Nothing but food, I was told. Not even enough cash to cover the bus fare to go back to their village. In previous years, they had been able to take at least some cash home.

The late Abdul Sattar Edhi, Pakistan’s most well-known philanthropist, who ran a countrywide network of ambulances, orphanages and shelters for abused women and unwanted babies, accepted donations from (almost) everyone. When he was short on cash, he would sit at a traffic signal, like a beggar, the hem of his shirt stretched out. People would come to him and give and give. Sometimes even beggars would stop by and throw their entire day’s earnings into Edhi’s lap. He used to say that it’s poor people who give the most.

A millionaire who lays a spread for fellow Muslims breaking fast is making an investment in the afterlife. A poor man who digs into his pocket and gives away his last few rupees to another poor man is doing Allah’s work.

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