— Turkish families say LHC barred govt from deporting any Turk teacher before Oct 16
LAHORE: Turkish families on Friday expressed their fear that the kidnapped Turk teacher Mesut Kacmaz and his family will be deported to Turkey which was against the Lahore High Court (LHC) verdict in which the government was barred to deport any Turkish teacher before Oct 16.
They demanded the Pakistani authorities treat them according to the LHC verdict. The fearing Turkish teachers and their families, along with the Pakistani teachers and students, were addressing a news conference in Lahore Press Club. The Turkish families, who have been staying in Pakistan in connection with the Pak-Turk International School, started facing problems after a failed military coup in Turkey.
The Turkish families informed that some 15 persons in police uniform kidnapped Mr Mesut, his wife Meral Kacmaz and their two daughters Huda and Huma on Wednesday at 2am from their house in Wapda Town, Lahore. They blamed that Mesut was severely manhandled. They said that while kidnapping, the kidnappers draped hoods on Mesut and female members of his family.
“Before leaving, they also arrested another neighbour – Turkish teacher Mr Fatih, who was witnessing the situation and took them to an unknown place,” they said, adding that Fatih was later released. “After the passing of three days, we don’t have any idea about the abducted family. We are afraid that they will be deported to Turkey where they will be put in jail, or killed by the Turkish government,” they said.
It is pertinent to mention here that visa applications of all the Turkish teachers and their families had been rejected by the government of Pakistan on November 14, 2016. Later, Turkish families were residing in Pakistan after obtaining asylum seekers certificate of United Nations High Commission for Refugees. The Turkish families, calling Pakistan their homeland, said that they felt safer in Pakistan, a country which they love.
A Turkish girl Bushra, while expressing her views, said that she was in Pakistan since she was 11 and has been residing in Lahore for 7 years. “I have spent my childhood here. I have friends here and have close family ties with Pakistani families,” she said. She added that she did not want the Mesut family to be deported to Turkey, as she feared that they might be killed there. “Turkish families have been serving in Pakistan in the field of education,” she said. She questioned if teaching was a crime. Bushra said that Mesut’s wife is a great teacher and like a mother to her and other students.
Former vice principal of Pak-Turk School, Fatima Tosun, said Turkish teachers neither have a link with a terrorist group nor do they have a relation with the Gulen Movement. She said that she was a vice principal of Pak-Turk School and has been in Pakistan for the last 10 years. “I have three children, and the last one was born in Pakistan,” she said, adding that she had named him after Iqbal, Pakistan’s national poet.
Talking about her relation with Meral, Tosun said that she was like her sister. She further informed that her real sister and her husband were in jail in Turkey. She demanded that the Turkish people be treated with humanity and said that expelling them would be a violation of court orders. Novin Tosun, daughter of Fatima Tosun, while calling Pakistan her love, said that she does not want to leave Pakistan. She said that she believed that Pakistan was a country of freedom and democracy. Novin showed her concern and said that she was worried about Huma and Huda as they were like her sisters.
A principal of one of the Pak-Turk schools, Mr Mehmet Ali Seker, while talking to Pakistan Today said that although they were staying on UNHCR’s certificate, they were unsure of their fate after October 16. He said that they were now being harassed by unknown persons in Pakistan. “Pakistani authorities can help us; We have served Pakistan and its youth and our service must be acknowledged.” Seker said.