Pakistan orders Save the Children to leave the country after locking down its offices

Government officials have previously linked the organisation to the fake vaccination programme used by the CIA to trace Osama Bin Laden

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The Independent Online

Pakistan has closed the offices of the international charity and aid group, Save the Children.

According to officials, no reason has been given for the closure of the offices, which are located in Islamabad.

Locks were placed on the gates of the group’s offices by Pakistani officials on Thursday, while employees were given 15 days to leave the country, the BBC reported.

In an announcement today, government officials said that the action was taken after orders from the Ministry of Interior.

The NGO has previously been linked by Pakistan to the fake vaccination programme that the CIA used to track down Osama Bin Laden.

Pakistani intelligence agencies claimed that a doctor’s vaccinations programme in the city of Abbottabad was used as a cover for the CIA to obtain DNA samples at a compound where the Al-Qaida leader was hiding out.

Condemning the move, Save the Children said the government actions were “raising our serious concerns at the highest levels,” adding that the affected workers were all Pakistani nationals.

A spokesperson for Save the Children told The Independent: "The office has been closed and sealed off today by the Pakistani authorities.

"Save the Children was not served any notice to this effect. We strongly object to this action and are raising our serious concerns at the highest levels.

"Last year, our programs in health, education, food security and livelihoods reached more than 4 million children and their families."

Save the Children told The Independent in 2012: "The use by the CIA of a vaccination campaign to get information is abhorrent to us"