Thursday, November 9, 2017
By Igor Bobic
Leigh Corfman, who is now 53, told The Washington Post in a deeply reported article published Thursday that Moore, then a 32-year-old assistant district attorney, took off her shirt and removed his clothes in the 1979 incident. He touched her over her bra and led her hands to touch him over his underwear, she said.
Three other women who spoke to the Post said Moore “asked them on dates when they were between 16 and 18 and he was in his early 30s.” Moore’s campaign blasted the report in a statement on Thursday, saying he was the victim of a “systematic campaign to distort the truth about the Judge’s record and career and derail his campaign.”
“After over 40 years of public service, if any of these allegations were true, they would have been made public long before now,” Moore’s campaign said.
Only one Republican in the chamber, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, called on Moore to “immediately” step aside. Other Republicans, however, said that he ought to do so if the allegations are “found to be true,” as one senator put it.
“The allegations against Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore are deeply troubling,” Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said in a statement. “If these allegations are found to be true, Roy Moore must drop out of the Alabama special Senate election.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), whose allied group the Senate Leadership Fund opposed Moore in the Alabama Senate primary, echoed Gardner.
“If these allegations are true, Roy Moore should step aside for all the obvious reasons. These are very disturbing allegations,” McConnell told reporters on Thursday.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the No. 2 Republican leader in the chamber, called the allegations against Moore “deeply disturbing.” Cornyn endorsed Moore last month.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said she had spoken to Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.), who lost to Moore in the Alabama Senate primary, about potentially running a write-in campaign before the Dec. 12 special election. If these allegations are true, Roy Moore should step aside for all the obvious reasons. These are very disturbing allegations. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Alabama law prohibits withdrawal of a candidate from a ballot within 76 days of the election. Reached by phone on Thursday, Alabama’s Republican secretary of state, John Merrill, said he had no comment about whether Moore should withdraw from the race. He noted that, under the state’s election law, Moore’s name will still appear on the ballot in December. “The people of Alabama will have an opportunity to have their voice heard. That can’t change,” he said, calling sexual allegations against Moore “just another piece of information that will allow them to make their decision.”
Merrill questioned the timing and source of the report, however.
“It’s odd to me that this information has just been introduced. In all the campaigns Judge Moore has ever run before ― and he has run a lot of them, probably a dozen campaigns. It’s very, very odd to me this information has just been introduced.”
He added that Alabama is home to many “outstanding news people” and that “not one of those people has ever been able to” unearth the allegations in the Post story.
Richard Shelby, the senior senator from Alabama and also a Republican, similarly called on Moore to withdraw if the allegations are proved true.
“If that’s true, I don’t believe there’d be any place for him in the United States Senate,” he said.
Roy Moore, the Republican Senate nominee in Alabama, has been accused of having inappropriate sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl when he was 32.
A Moore campaign adviser, Dean Young,told the Guardian: “For the next 33 days, Alabamians are going to be tested whether they can be tricked by fake news and the establishment.
“If they pass the test, our nation has hope. But if they can beat Judge Roy Moore in Alabama, they can beat anybody, anywhere, anytime and our nation will continue to go down in a spiral.”
Chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has condemned the terrorist attack in Quetta and expressed deep grief and sorrow over the martyrdom of DIG Hamid Shakeel and other police officers.The PPP Chairman saluted the martyred officers and soldiers and stressed for national unity to fight the evil of terrorism, said a statement issued here on Thursday.PPP Chairman expressed full solidarity with the bereaved families adding that his party shares their grief equally.
A blunt answer to “Why have I been removed?”
Nawaz Sharif, already disqualified by the Supreme Court from holding public office, faces corruption references now that can land him to jail. Sharif’s confidence in his mechanism of control over NAB and other accountability related agencies led him to reject the opposition’s offer to resolve the Panama case through parliament. Sharif decided instead to take the case to the Supreme Court. None in the family could imagine that the apex court would seek the help of the two prime security agencies under the army’s control which maintain updated records on the sleazy affairs of those who matter. The way ISI and MI readily accepted the assignment led Nawaz Sharif to ascribe it to some sort of collusion between the army and the apex court.
Sharif made an attempt to wriggle out of the situation by recourse to public pressure. The tone and tenor of the fiery addresses during the Islamabad to Lahore rally wherein Sharif questioned the reasons for his disqualification backfired. Important PML-N leaders opposed the policy of confrontation with the establishment. A later move, within the system this time, to amend Articles 62 and 63 to reduce Sharif’s disqualification period was foiled by the opposition parties.
Nawaz had been repeatedly asking why he was ousted. He has got the reply he was asking for. The remarks in the Supreme Court verdict rejecting the review pleas are highly damaging. “He (Sharif) never came forth with the entire truth” and “tried to fool the people inside and outside the parliament,” says the judgment as it spells out in detail the reasons behind Sharif’s disqualification. The verdict has elicited a strong reaction from Nawaz Sharif and daughter Maryam, the first accusing the judges of being full of grudge and anger and the later calling it ‘travesty of justice’ resulting from ‘immense pressure’ on the judges. Facing a relentless court and an opposition unwilling to lend a helping hand, Nawaz Sharif is finally at the end of his tether. What perturbs many is that the grip of the elected government on the affairs the state has continued to weaken.
By Asad Zia
Around one million girls between the ages of five and 16 are still out of school in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
Despite claims made by the provincial government a total of 1,519,371 children are out of schools across the province— 1,014,419 girls and 504,952 boys.
According to the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Elementary and Secondary Education Department’s ‘Out of schools children’ survey conducted in 2016, the number of children between the ages of five and 16 in the province is 7,472,348, of whom 5,952,977 are enrolled. The survey was conducted in over 4 million households in all 25 districts of the province.
The survey report categorised the reasons behind children being out of school. Lack of interest in school was the most common reason (26 per cent) followed by poverty (24 per cent) and distance from schools, no school, being underage, disability, no benefit of education, health issues and lack of school facilities (22 per cent).
Talking to The Express Tribune, an ESED official, requesting anonymity, shared that the provincial department had allocated Rs227 million in the 2015-16 budget to update the statistics on the number of children out of school.
He said that due to unavailability of funds, the survey was postponed twice.
He shared that the households were visited by 40,000 primary schoolteachers, including 7,500 teachers deputed as supervisors for the survey. Each teacher was responsible to visit 100 houses for data collection.
K-P ESED Media Adviser Naji Ullah Khattak told The Express Tribune that in the past four years the number of out of school children had decreased to 1.5 million from 2.5 million.
He said the incumbent government held enrolment campaigns twice every year and had managed to enrol 0.8 million children in schools.
He said that last year the enrolment campaign was 70 to 80 per cent successful. He said the provincial government was trying its best to reach the 100 per cent target by the end of its tenure.
Khattak said that it was a daunting task for the government to bring back the children who had dropped out because once they left they were not interested to attend school.
By Shahbaz Rana
Many schools and hospitals in the war-torn tribal areas of Pakistan will either remain non-operational or will function below their capacity as the federal government has turned down a request to create about 4,500 new posts in these institutions due to financial constraints.
Against the request of creating 4,486 posts in health and education departments of Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA), the federal finance ministry has agreed to finance only 1,440 posts, which fulfills only 32 per cent of the needs.
The Fata Secretariat had initially sent a schedule of expenditure for 2,153 health sector posts and 2,329 education sector posts to the finance ministry, said FATA Finance Secretary Kamran Shah during a meeting of Senate Standing Committee on Finance, held on Wednesday. Against the request of 2,153 health sector posts, the finance ministry sanctioned only 616 posts, which covered only 28.5 per cent of the requirements. Similarly, in the education sector, the finance ministry sanctioned 824 posts, which covered only 35 per cent of the requirements.
“Due to financial constraints, we cannot create all the posts in one go,” said Federal Finance Secretary Shahid Mehmood. He said that this decision was taken with the consultation of all the stakeholders. Mehmood said that the annual cost of filling all the vacant posts in Fata was over Rs3 billion, which the federal government cannot finance at this stage.
This has once again raised questions over the priorities of the federal government that quietly gave away Rs42.5 billion in only a year to fund politically-oriented schemes but did not have mere Rs3 billion to create 4,486 required posts in the health and education departments.
0.5m girls out of school in FATA
In the previous fiscal year, the government had allocated Rs20 billion for parliamentarians’ schemes but the actual spending remained at Rs42.5 billion. The finance ministry and the planning ministry gave additional Rs22.5 billion despite the fact that there were no additional funds available.
The Fata Finance Secretary said that in the first phase, the positions would be filled only in high schools and degree colleges.
“The federal government has resources for the construction of Metro Bus project in Islamabad but not for creating posts in the schools of Fata, lamented,” Senator Hidayat Ullah.
The planning ministry had given over Rs15 billion funds for Islamabad’s under construction Metro Bus project that will link the capital city to the new airport despite the fact that there were no allocations for this in the development budget.
Fata Secretariat had sent a request for the creation of 5,540 posts in about a dozen departments, said Shah. He said that the finance ministry has agreed to create 2,293 posts that will require Rs980.5 million annual funding. Out of a total of 2,293 posts as many as 1,440 were sanctioned in the education and health departments, said Shah.
These schools had been built in various tribal agencies of Fata with the help of federal government and foreign donors. China has also recently announced to build over 50 schools for girls in Fata.
Over 1,195 girls’ schools were affected by war on terror in these tribal agencies, out of which 555 were completely destroyed whereas 491 were partially affected.
At present, 5,545 primary schools are operational in Fata and there is a surplus of primary schools, said Kamran Shah. He said that the number of high schools is only 338 therefore; it was decided to expand them in the first phase.
“It is essential to fill all the posts of health and education departments in Fata to address their multiple deprivations,” said Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq of the PML-N.
Kamran Shah said that the federal government has provided Rs21.8 billion for current expenditures and another Rs21.3 billion for development activities in the Fata regions.
The federal government is seeking provinces’ contributions to meet the financial needs of Fata and other areas of the country. It has sought seven per cent share of the federal divisible pool to meet the requirements of Fata, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. But the provincial governments are not willing to accept this demand.
THIS is one of my worst nightmares, and it is getting perilously close. Now that the young prince of Saudi Arabia has decided to settle all family business, to borrow a phrase, and his government has formally accused Iran of an “act of war” against his kingdom on account of the missile fired from Yemen intercepted above Riyadh, the tensions that were bubbling beneath the surface are now boiling up.
Start with the fact that Pakistan has a history of getting sucked into other people’s wars, usually in return for a pittance of help with our chronic balance of payments deficit. At the moment though, Pakistan has managed to walk the fine line and stay out of the conflicts growing in the Middle East, and the latest visit of the current army chief to Tehran appears to be cementing the country’s neutrality in the whole affair. But the forces pushing and pulling Pakistan into the regional conflicts there are powerful, and should be carefully considered.
Ever since Pakistan accepted that ‘gift’ of $1.5 billion from “a friendly country that does not want to be named”, but was later identified as Saudi Arabia, there has been a lurking danger that we are being courted to join the multi-front conflicts that are sweeping across the Middle East. The obvious question that was raised when we learned of this ‘gift’ was: what is the quid pro quo? What are we expected to give in return? There were grounds to be incredulous when we were told that nothing was expected in return. That is not how things work in this world, and surely the bill will become due at some point.
The second point on the timeline was the visit to Pakistan by the then crown prince of the kingdom, the father of the young prince today, in early 2014. Our government’s dealings with the kingdom are always shrouded in mystery, but the joint communiqué issued at the end of that meeting carried murmurs of something deeper. Where the last communiqué issued after the visit by a royal carried largely bland language about Saudi support for Kashmir, the mutual support by both countries for Palestine, and “solidarity in the service of their respective peoples and the entire Muslim ummah”, the communiqué of 2014 mentioned “promotion of the causes of the Muslim ummah” with two whole paragraphs on Syria.
The forces pushing and pulling Pakistan into regional conflict are powerful, and should be carefully considered.
Pakistan was already feeling the tug in the fray opening up in the Middle East in 2014, it appears.
The next point on the timeline was the creation of the military alliance, led by the kingdom. Pakistan learned from the news conference announcing the creation of the alliance that it was a member. That raised another important question: have we secretly agreed to deploy ground troops in Yemen? The answer was no, going by strenuous government denials in the wake of that news conference, not yet, but the pressure was on.
Then came the hectic diplomacy, with Nawaz Sharif and then army chief Raheel Sharif taking turns to visit the kingdom, with no attendant announcement on the substance of the conversations held there. A commitment was issued that Pakistan will defend the two holy mosques, but nothing further.
The next point on the timeline was the announcement that former army chief, Raheel Sharif, will be heading the alliance and will be based in Saudi Arabia. Some politics revolved around that issue, but the appointment was finally approved.
Then the king died in 2015 and the crown prince was elevated to the throne. His successor to the crown prince was Mohammad bin Nayef, who was suddenly relieved of his charge in June of this year and replaced with the son of the king, the present young prince Mohammad bin Salman.
And then comes the night of the long knives, Nov 4, when Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri landed in the kingdom and announces his resignation, a large section of the royal family is rounded up on charges of corruption and placed under arrest, and Riyadh comes under attack from long-range missiles fired from Yemen, that it later alleges were supplied by Iran and constituted an “act of war”.
Things are heating up to boiling point now. The royal family is in a tumult, war drums between Saudi Arabia and Iran are sounding, and Lebanon appears to be moving towards becoming the next Syria. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s former army chief still sits as the commander of the alliance, while media reports say Pakistan has signed three separate short-term loan agreements worth $700 million from the Islamic Development Bank, in which Saudi Arabia holds the largest shareholding of 23.5 per cent shares (the second largest shareholder is Libya, with 9.43pc). Of that, according to the same reports, almost half has already been availed of for oil imports, also from the kingdom.
It is a pattern for Pakistan now that every government leaves the treasury dry, and every incoming government reaches out to its friends abroad for a bailout. The PPP government famously asked for a $100bn Marshall Plan-style bailout from the Americans in 2008, and the Nawaz Sharif government asked for a bailout of up to $4bn from the Saudis. The former got an IMF loan of $7bn instead, while the latter got a ‘gift’ of $1.5bn. Now we are once again moving towards a repeat of that cycle, except Trump is sitting in D.C. and the kingdom has issues of its own.
Both are eyeing Pakistan’s army, and have some demands of it. The Chinese have no history of bailing anyone out, with the closest example being the Sri Lankans, who had to surrender territory in return for a debt-equity swap on Hambantota Port.
The chips are not falling nicely. It is more vital than ever that the hard-fought stability that Pakistan has acquired in the past few years not be bargained away in return for a bailout since we are moving towards a depletion of the foreign exchange reserves one more time. Staying out of the regional conflicts that are breaking out to our west ought to be foreign policy priority number one for us. The push-and-pull factors dragging us into that quagmire are powerful, but it is difficult to overstate the importance of transcending them this time round.
Government on Thursday told medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres’ (MSF) to shut its last remaining facility in the impoverished tribal belt bordering Afghanistan, the health organisation said.
The closure ends MSF’s four-year stint in the Bajaur region of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), where healthcare access is limited, and hits 120 staff working there.
The move comes seven weeks after the medical charity was ordered to shut down two health facilities it ran for 14 years in the nearby Kurram district, plagued by militancy over the past decade.
“Healthcare services are very limited in the area and most of our patients cannot afford to pay even for basic medical care,” Azaad Alessandro Alocco, the group’s representative in Pakistan, said in a statement.
“As the only major hospital providing free, quality healthcare in the area, the closure of MSF’s activities will leave a major gap and have serious negative implications for the health of people living in Bajaur.”
No reason was given for the closure order, it added.
Foreign nationals and groups working in the sensitive region, plagued by some of the country’s poorest healthcare and lowest literacy rates, require no-objection certificates from the government, but their renewal has been denied to MSF.
The interior ministry, responsible for the issue of the documents, did not respond to a Reuters’ request for comment.
Large swaths of land in the region have been ravaged by militant groups battling Pakistan’s army for the better part of a decade. The conflict left tens of thousands homeless and devastated education, health and housing facilities.
NGOs and journalists also face restrictions when working in the tribal regions. Security concerns have prompted stiffer conditions in recent years for aid and research organizations that seek permits to work there.