Thursday, November 9, 2017

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Republicans Say Roy Moore Should Withdraw From Senate Race If Allegations Are True

By Igor Bobic

And Sen. John McCain called on Moore to “immediately” step aside.

Republicans distanced themselves from GOP Alabama Senate nominee Roy Moore on Thursday after a woman alleged that the controversial judge sexually assaulted her when she was 14 years old.
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.

U.S. - Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore accused of sexually assaulting teen girl

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.”

The Post reported that Moore took Leigh Corfman to his house in 1979, stripped down to his underwear and made her touch his genitals. Under Alabama law, such conduct would be sexual abuse in the second degree, although the statute of limitations would have long passed. Corfman told the Post: “I wasn’t ready for that – I had never put my hand on a man’s penis, much less an erect one.”
The story also details allegations from three other women about Moore dating them when they were underage. Although one told the Post that Moore had ordered her cocktails when she was below the legal drinking age, there were no other accusations of illegal behavior. The report comes five weeks before Moore faces off against Democrat Doug Jones in the fiercely competitive special election to fill the Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions when he became US attorney general. He won the Republican nomination in September, besting the appointed incumbent, Luther Strange, by a margin of 55%-45% despite Strange’s support from Donald Trump and the entire machinery of the Republican party. Moore, though, did receive the support of the former White House strategist Steve Bannon.
Moore’s campaign used the allegations to fundraise in an email sent out hours after the Washington Post article was posted. The email said the campaign was in “a spiritual battle” against “the forces of evil” and characterized the Post’s reporting as an attack: “The Obama-Clinton Machine’s liberal media lapdogs just launched the most vicious and nasty round of attacks against me I’ve EVER faced.” Shortly before the Washington Post article was published, Breitbart, the conservative website run by Bannon, published an article featuring the Post’s request for comment to the Moore campaign, which detailed the accusations against him, and the Alabama Republican’s response to the allegations.
Top Republicans immediately took steps to distance themselves from Moore. The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, who actively supported Strange, said in a statement: “If these allegations are true, he must step aside.” Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado, who runs the National Republican Senate Committee, also put out a statement saying: “The allegations against Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore are deeply troubling. If these allegations are found to be true, Roy Moore must drop out of the Alabama special Senate election.” Senator John McCain of Arizona, the Republican presidential nominee in 2008, said bluntly in a statement that Moore should drop out. “The allegations against Roy Moore are deeply disturbing and disqualifying,” said McCain. “He should immediately step aside and allow the people of Alabama to elect a candidate they can be proud of.”
Among the handful of Senate Republicans who have endorsed Moore, only Mike Lee of Utah weighed in on the allegations. Lee said in a statement: “If these allegations are true, Judge Moore should resign.” The Alabama state auditor, Jim Ziegler, a Moore ally, came to the embattled Republican’s defense, telling the Washington Examiner: “There is nothing to see here.”
Ziegler went on to compare the allegations to biblical stories. “Also take Joseph and Mary,” he said. “Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus.” Moore has long been a controversial figure in Alabama politics. He has been twice removed as chief justice of the state supreme court, first for refusing to remove a monument to the Ten Commandments from the grounds of his courthouse and more recently for refusing to implement the US supreme court ruling legalizing gay marriage.
Moore also has a long history of incendiary comments on social issues. He has argued that “homosexual conduct” should be illegal, said the United States could be described as “the focus of evil in the world” for promoting “bad things” like gay marriage and that a Muslim congressman should be prohibited from serving in the House of Representatives. The campaign for Moore’s opponent, Jones, said: “Roy Moore needs to answer these serious charges.” Although recent polling gave Moore a steady lead in the high single digits, the scandal gives Democrats even more of an opening in the deep red state. The Montgomery-based Democratic pollster Zac McCrary said Jones was already running a strong campaign but this report could push Democrats over the edge. McCrary said: “A majority of Alabamians were looking for a reason to not elevate Roy Moore to the Senate and not make him the face of Alabama.”

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PAKISTAN "The educational system is a failure"

"In Pakistan we are witnessing the failure of the educational system. The death of Sharon Masih, the Christian student lynched by his classmates is a clear sign of the teachers’ indifference. There is a climate of hatred towards non-Muslims, the school environment is deteriorating. Christian and Hindu children are victims of Muslim students but also of teachers": this is the strong complaint submitted to Agenzia Fides by Anjum James Paul, Pakistani Catholic professor and president of the "Pakistani Minorities Teachers' Association" (PMTA). Anjum James Paul was a schoolmate of Shahbaz Bhatti, the murdered Catholic minister, and shared his commitment to human rights and the promotion of religious minorities in the country. Today he leads an association that carries out research and elaborates studies and documents, collaborating with the Pakistan Ministry of Education.
Anjum James Paul tells Fides: "In 14 years of research, which we have always submitted to the government, we can say with certainty that intolerance in public school is widespread and Sharon's murder is a clear example. There are prejudices and hatred towards religious minorities that are instilled through textbooks adopted in public schools that promote contempt against other religions. It is necessary to promote coexistence and tolerance in all schools, starting from younger children. This educational system has a strong impact on the formation and minds of young people, hence on the whole society. We already pointed it out in our 'White Book on education' published more or less ten years ago.
The president continues: "In recent years, there has been some progress and positive changes, but not enough has been done. There is a context of institutionalized discrimination against non-Muslims that is very dangerous. It is urgent to cut the roots of extremism and to promote a global reform of school curricula with greater attention and commitment. Ideal references are: the famous 1947 speech by Ali Jinnah, founder of Pakistan, on the protection and freedom of religious minorities; and also the recent ruling by the Supreme Court that on 19 June 2014 ordered the Pakistani government to commit itself and to take concrete measures to protect and promote religious minorities, guaranteeing equal rights for all citizens".

Pakistan - Blasphemy allegation: Christian families fled the area to save their lives

Five Christian families in Pakistan are compelled to leave their homes and village as a 18-year-old youth among them has been charged of committing blasphemy. As indicated by media reports, these families are inhabitants of Sukheki village, somewhere in the range of 200 kilometers from Lahore.
These Christian families needed to escape their homes after the photo of a Christian youth was shared on Facebook and individuals of the range were induced to kill him and consume the congregation. There are reports that a Muslim mob had likewise been composed to rebuff the Christian young man.
Police authorities told that circumstance was brought under control a case had been enlisted against the individuals who had made this phony Facebook page. Cop Tahir Hussain told that there was no proof of the Christian boy named Arshad had submitted any blasphemy whatsoever. It was a phony campaign. The issue has been sent to Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) with the goal that the offenders behind the page could be found.

Then again, Christian counselor Naseer Ghulam told the media that he had no clue where were the Christian families who had fled the area to save their lives and what conditions they are in. He additionally had no idea of why Arshad Masih was being encircled for this case.

Pakistan - Nawaz Sharif risking country’s stability for personal ends: Asif Zardari

In a meeting with PPP leadership in Zardari house, the former President Asif Ali Zardari said that Nawaz Sharif is risking country’s stability for personal ends.
“Intending to weaken them, Nawaz Sharif is playing a dangerous game with the institutions of Pakistan including judiciary which is evident from the fact that Sharif labelled judicial verdict against him as judges’ anger”.
“Nawaz Sharif by attacking judges has exposed himself before the nation. Nawaz Sharif thinks himself above law and accountability. He tried to control armed forces and when he did not succeed, he asked his ministers to issue statements against armed forces. He also tried to blackmail judiciary but after failing in his effort he and his cronies started attacking judges,” he added.
The former President asserted that the countries with weakened institutions become prey to civil wars and turmoil and Nawaz Sharif is pushing the country in that direction where no one will be able to save it. Citing the example of Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan, Zardari stressed that not even NATO or US armed forces can save countries with chaos and weakened institutions.
He further remarked that Nawaz Sharif will escape the country after pushing it into the chaos like before but we never abandoned the country but this time PPP will put an end to the foreign agenda that PML-N Chairman is trying to promote.

Pakistan - PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto condemns terrorist attack in Quetta

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.

Pakistan - Nawaz Sharif and the Supreme Court

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.

Over a million girls still out of school in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa

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.

Pakistan - Request to create 4,500 new posts in FATA schools, hospitals turned down

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.

Pakistan - Keeping out of Middle East Quagmire

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.

Pakistan - Govt shuts down last MSF facility in Fata

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.