Islamabad: The Pakistani government shut down the offices of the international aid group Save the Children in the capital, Islamabad, without giving any reason, officials said on Friday. Pakistani officials placed a lock on the gate of the group's offices Thursday night and asked employees to leave.
The officials also told Pakistani employees that the government wanted all foreign nationals working with the charity to leave the country within 15 days. It was unclear how many foreigners were currently working with Save the Children in Pakistan.
Two government officials said the action was taken on orders from the Ministry of Interior. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. The spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, Qazi Khalilullah, refused to comment and referred all questions on the issue to the Ministry of Interior.
"I will not be commenting on a decision that has been taken by the government. Our decisions are always well considered," he said during a weekly news briefing on Friday.
Save the Children has previously been accused by Pakistani intelligence agencies of facilitating a Pakistani doctor's vaccinations program in the city of Abbottabad as cover for the CIA to obtain DNA samples at a compound where al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was later killed by U.S. commandos.