US NGO Save the Children has been ordered to leave Pakistan, with an official accusing the charity of “anti-Pakistan” activities.
Police have sealed off the charity’s offices in Islamabad and foreign staff given 15 days to leave the country.
Save the Children said it “strongly objected” to the action.
Pakistan has previously linked Save the Children to the fake vaccination program used by the CIA to track down Osama bin Laden.
Save the Children has always denied being involved with the CIA or Pakistani doctor Shakil Afridi, who carried out the program.
The NGO has no foreign staff in Pakistan as they were forced to leave after the accusations emerged in 2012.
Save the Children now has 1,200 Pakistani staff working on projects in health, education and food, the charity said.
The charity, which has operations all over the world, has worked in Pakistan for more than 30 years.
The Pakistani government has not given a formal announcement explaining the decision.
However, one official told the AFP news agency: “Their activities were being monitored since a long time. They were doing something which was against Pakistan’s interest.”
A police official said that Save the Children’s phone calls and offices had been placed under surveillance. Speaking to the Reuters news agency, he added that the charity’s activities were “very suspicious”.
Condemning the move, Save the Children said it was “raising our serious concerns at the highest levels”, adding that its workers were all Pakistani nationals.
A Save the Children official told Reuters that the Pakistan government had been stopping aid shipments entering the country, “blocking aid to millions of children and their families”.
It comes after the Pakistani government announced it was tightening the rules for NGOs, revoking several of their licenses.
Meanwhile, the Norwegian Refugee Council has ceased all operations in Pakistan as its license has not yet been renewed.
Pakistan state TV (PTV) has been taken off air after its headquarters were stormed by anti-government protesters in Islamabad.
PTV showed live images of crowds breaking open the gates and pouring into its offices before its transmission ended.
Latest reports say troops have removed the protesters from the building.
Protesters want PM Nawaz Sharif to resign. He denies charges of corruption and electoral fraud.
Earlier, fresh clashes erupted between protesters and police.
A number of police officers have been injured during clashes near PM Nawaz Sharif’s residence (photo The Express Tribune)
A number of police officers were reported to have been injured in the violence as thousands of demonstrators – some wielding batons and throwing stones – moved on the main building housing Pakistan’s federal bureaucracy and Prime Minister’s House.
Riot police were forced to retreat from the main road in front of parliament, Constitution Avenue.
Protesters attacked vehicles and set fire to shipping containers placed on the road as roadblocks.
On Sunday night protesters used trucks to smash through the outer fence of the parliament building.
Demonstrators loyal to opposition politician Imran Khan and cleric Tahirul Qadri have been taking part in a sit-in in the centre of the capital for two weeks.
At least 20 people have been killed by the bomb blast that struck a busy market on the outskirts of Pakistan’s capital (photo AFP/Getty Images)
He said it was an effort by Pakistan’s enemies to destabilize the country, but that the government would remain resolute in its efforts for peace, according to his office.
The latest reports from hospitals in the area say as many as 100 people were injured.
An AFP reporter at the scene said the blast caused a 5ft-wide crater in the ground, which was littered with body parts.
The bombing reportedly happened in the Sabzi Mandi area of the capital about 08:00 local time, one of the busiest times of day for the wholesale fruit and vegetable market.
Police said the explosives were hidden in a box of fruit.
In a statement, the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) said it strongly condemned the attack.
“The killing of innocent people in attacks on public places is regrettable and prohibited by Islam,” it said.
Correspondents say the TTP sits at the helm of a loose network of territorially independent militant groups who have different agendas. Not all of them will favor peace talks.
The blast comes a day after 13 people were killed in a bomb attack by separatists in Balochistan province. The long-running insurgency in Balochistan is separate to the Taliban campaign which has raged inside Pakistan since 2008.
Former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf has been arrested and will be held under house arrest in Islamabad for two days.
Earlier, TV images showed Pervez Musharraf entering a district court amid heavy security.
On Thursday a Pakistani court ordered the former leader’s arrest over an attempt to impose house arrest on judges in March 2007.
It was an unprecedented move against a former army chief who ruled the country for almost a decade.
Although Pervez Musharraf was present at court on Thursday when the warrant was issued, police made no attempt to arrest him and he rapidly returned to his home on the outskirts of the city.
Pervez Musharraf has been arrested and will be held under house arrest in Islamabad for two days
On Friday morning, according to his aides, Pervez Musharraf went to a district court escorted by his security detail and submitted himself for arrest to comply with Thursday’s court order.
Police said the arrest had taken place overnight at his home.
Pervez Musharraf’s legal team say they will challenge the arrest order in Pakistan’s Supreme Court.
Last month Pervez Musharraf returned from years of self-imposed exile hoping to lead his All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) party into the general election next month.
Earlier this week his candidacy was rejected in Chitral, one of four seats he had applied to contest.
Pervez Musharraf had already failed in an attempt to stand in three other seats.
The case for which the former military ruler has been arrested relates to his controversial decision to dismiss judges – including Chief Justice Mohammad Iftikhar Chaudhry – when he imposed emergency rule in 2007.
Pervez Musharraf also faces several other criminal cases and had been trying to stave off arrest ever since he returned.
The Pakistani Taliban have also vowed to assassinate former President Pervez Musharraf, who seized power in a 1999 coup.
Afghanistan has blocked the entry of all newspapers from Pakistan, saying they serve Taliban militants.
In its order, the interior ministry said the newspapers “are a propaganda resource of the Taliban spokesmen” and has ordered police forces in east Afghanistan to confiscate all copies.
The latest move comes amid increasing tension between the two countries.
Afghanistan has blocked the entry of all newspapers from Pakistan, saying they serve Taliban militants
Afghanistan has urged Pakistan to immediately stop shelling in the border province of Kunar.
The Afghan interior ministry order focuses specifically on blocking entry of the papers at Torkham, a busy border crossing.
It authorizes police to impound Pakistani newspapers in the three eastern provinces of Nangarhar, Kunar and Nuristan.
Referring to the reasons for the move, the ministry said news in the Pakistani newspapers “is not based in reality and it is creating concerns for our countrymen in the eastern provinces of Afghanistan”.
Correspondents say that cross-border violence has become a highly sensitive issue in Afghanistan, where many are wary of Pakistan’s historic ties to the Taliban.
At a UN Security Council meeting on Thursday, Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul said the attacks had killed dozens of civilians.
The UN says around 4,000 people have been displaced due to cross-border shelling.
Last month, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his Pakistani counterpart, Asif Ali Zardari, agreed to send a joint military delegation to examine the shelling across their border.
Islamabad says that the violence is being carried out by Pakistani Taliban fighters sheltering in Afghanistan, who have infiltrated the border to resume attacks on its security forces.
Pakistan says it is only targeting militants who flee from their territory and try to seek a safe haven in Afghanistan.