Senate body calls for report on Turkish teachers forcibly deported


ISLAMABAD: The Senate’s Standing Committee for Interior, chaired by Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Senator Rehman Malik, on Thursday summoned Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s representative to brief the committee over the deportation of Turkish teachers last year.

The committee also directed the Interior Ministry to submit details of Turkish teachers that are in Pakistan as well as those who were deported last year. It also sought the legal documents of the non-governmental organisation (NGO) which has taken over the PakTurk International Schools and Colleges functioning in the country.

The orders were issued after rights activist Asma Jahangir, who attended the committee’s meeting, accused the government of deporting Turkish teachers by force. Asma Jahangir said that the former president of Pak-Turk International Schools and Colleges Mesut Kacmaz had been kidnapped along with his wife and children in Pakistan following which they were deported to Turkey.

Asma, a senior lawyer, is representing Kacmaz in a contempt of court case against the Pakistani government being heard by the Lahore High Court (LHC). The petitioner has accused the government of disregarding the high court’s order to halt the deportation of Turkish teachers.

She also told the Senate committee that the government had handed over charge of the PakTurk schools to another Turkish NGO, while the old Turkish employees of PakTurk International Schools and Colleges are either being expelled from the country or have gone missing.

The educational institutions were accused of being associated with Fethullah Gulen, the arch-rival of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the man alleged to be behind the Turkish military’s failed takeover.

As many as 32 Pak-Turk schools and colleges had been running in Pakistan under the Turkish management at the time. As many as 115 Turk nationals were employed at different positions in these educational institutions, and more than 11,000 Pakistani students were studying in the school chain.

After the Turkish government demanded their closure, a Pakistani NGO had taken over the affairs of the schools and colleges and made the old staff redundant.