Pakistan’s first fee-less university in Kasur

LAHORE:15 July:The government is pushing forward with the Punjab Charity Bill 2017 and the proposed legislation will establish a regulatory body as a watchdog for nonprofit organisations,has learnt. The bill has already been approved by Cabinet Standing Committee on Legislative Business in a recent meeting. It will be sent to the provincial cabinet and later presented before the governor if approved. Lahore-based non-profit raises funds for Pakistan’s first fee-less university in Kasur Advertisement Once it gets the governor’s nod, the law will come into being as the Punjab Charity Ordinance 2017. PCB 2017 aims to regulate all charitable entities, from funding to their management. The bill also introduces compoundable, cognizable and non-bailable offences, apart from penalties up to Rs1 million and year-long jail terms for misappropriation or misuse of funds. The bill proposes the establishment of a five-member commission which will be led by a chairman. Members would be retired judges, civil servants or from the private sector and would be selected by the provincial government for a term of two years. The commission would be attached to the Home Department. The purpose of charitable entities has also been defined in the draft of the bill. They have been catergorised according to aims such as relief of poverty or advancement of education, environment protection, health, community development, arts, culture and heritage, human rights, conflict resolution and reconciliation activities. It states that charitable organisations should be registered under the relevant laws. The commission would sanction appeals for the collection of funds from two or more districts of the province. The deputy commissioner would approve charity collection for districts, whereas the assistant commissioner would do the same for his subdivision. Without the aforesaid approval, charitable organisations would not be allowed to collect funds from within the province. Another purpose of the commission is to monitor and ensure proper utilisation of funds. It would also ensure that charitable funds are not used for any purpose other than the one declared, apart from overseeing that the money is not wasted. The commission would maintain a register of charities and their periodic evaluation. It would also hold audits, appoint charity trustees and hold enquiries. The bill further states that if a charity fails to fulfill obligation under this ordinance, it may be suspended or have its registration cancelled. Penalties and punishments would be imposed for misuse of funds or expenditure for any unlawful purpose. Proceed as before: Court suspends order of nonprofit’s closure SAP Pakistan Executive Director Muhammad Tahseen said this commission would just be another regulatory body which would make it more difficult for nonprofits to operate. He said organisations were already being regulated under the relevant law. He said the purpose of a charitable organisation was to provide relief to the poor. He said rather than making things easier, they have put charitable organisations under increased scrutiny. The executive director said NGOs should be allowed to deliver. Published in The Express Tribune,

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