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ISLAMABAD: Ahead of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Pakistan, the interior ministry has asked the Turkish staff of Pak-Turk schools and colleges to leave the country by Nov 20.

The management of the educational network on Tuesday expressed concern over the “abrupt move” and assured the students and parents involved that it stood firmly against any proposal for “ingress of some other organisation into the teachers and staff of the schools”.

A senior official of the interior ministry said the visas of the educational chain’s staff had been cancelled and that letters had been sent to them on Sunday, informing them that they had only one week to leave the country.

The decision was in line with the advice of the foreign affairs ministry.

The number of teachers and other Turkish staff in the chain’s 28 schools and colleges stood at 108 and the total number of their family members at about 400, the official said.

In August, Pakistan had promised Turkey’s visiting Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavusoglu that it would look into affairs of the chain Ankara wanted to be closed for its alleged links with US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

During his visit, Mr Çavusoglu had said: “It is not a secret that Gulen’s organisation has institutions... in Pakistan and in many other countries. I am sure the necessary measures will be taken. We have to be very careful with such organisations and their causing risk and threat for the security and stability of every country [where] they have presence.”

The network of Pak-Turk schools and colleges was launched in 1995 under an international NGO registered with the Turkish government. “Initially, funding was made from Turkey to establish modern campuses in Pakistan. But for the last 15 years or so the chain has been generating its own funds here, offering free education and boarding facilities to 35 per cent of the students, besides awarding foreign scholarships to them,” the official said.

The chain’s 28 schools and colleges are functioning in Lahore, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Multan, Karachi, Hyderabad, Khairpur, Jamshoro and Quetta. Some 11,000 students, of pre-school to ‘A’ Level ages, are studying there.

In the second week of August, the management of the chain removed the Turkish principals of their 28 schools and colleges and also dissolved the board of directors which had representation from Turkish nationals.

The drastic move was seen as an attempt to thwart the likely handing over of the chain to any organisation by the government. According to sources, the Turkish government had suggested that the network be handed over to an international NGO having inks with the Erdogan administration.

The management had also filed petitions in the Islamabad and Lahore high courts, seeking judicial orders to stop the Pakistani government from taking any “unlawful step which would compromise the future of the students”, or to maintain the status quo.

Parents of the students say withdrawal of the faculty and change of management will adversely affect standards at the educational institutions.

Last month, the foreign affairs ministry had informed the Islamabad High Court that the government was not going to shut down the institutions and that it had not received any request from the Turkish government for the transfer of their management to a third party.

The petition had been filed in the court amid speculation related to the closure or transfer of the 28 institutions from the current Pak-Turk Education Foundation, allegedly linked to Mr Gulen, to the “pro-President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Maarif Foundation”. In its written comments, the ministry had said that “demand from any quarter to close the Pak-Turk Education Foundation has not been received”.

Our Staff Reporter in Lahore adds: In a statement, the management of the chain expressed concern over the government’s abrupt decision which required “the Turkish teachers, management and their family members numbering approximately 450 individuals, including school-going children, infants and ladies, to leave the country within three [working] days — an extraordinary time constraint— in consequence of non-approval of their requests for extension of visa”.

“We are in touch with the [relevant] authorities and are constantly assessing the situation, relying on the commitment of the Government of Pakistan’s concerned authorities through their written comments filed before the Honourable Islamabad High Court that they do not intend to take any adverse action against the Pak-Turk International Schools & Colleges across Pakistan,” the statement said.

“We also take this opportunity to alleviate the apprehensions of the students and their parents regarding ingress of some other organisation into the teachers and staff of the schools and ensure them of our firm stance against any such design or move.”

The statement added that the management and the expatriate staff reserved the right to invoke the jurisdiction of a competent forum or court against the decision of non-extension of visa and exit orders.

Published in Dawn November 16th, 2016


Comments (91) Closed



Rahman -USA Nov 16, 2016 08:31am

Shameful capitulation on the part of Pakistan government to appease the Turkish dictator. I wish PTI's decision to boycott the visitor's address to the National Assembly was to protest his undemocratic and fascist rule.

rafaqat Nov 16, 2016 08:36am

Bad move!

Ashamed Pakistani Nov 16, 2016 08:38am

Can we ever take decisions without getting influenced?

Changez Khan Nov 16, 2016 08:45am

Good move!

Neutral Neighbour Nov 16, 2016 08:52am

Bending backwards to appease a dictator is never a good idea!

LTPEACE Nov 16, 2016 08:55am

Political games affecting education of thousands of children.

Jally Fellow Nov 16, 2016 08:59am

Bad move.. or a good move??

CITIZEN Nov 16, 2016 09:02am

It is a coward act they should have mentioned the reason before issuing the orders.

Asif Aziz Nov 16, 2016 09:02am

So we say Trump is bad? Come on! If we are doing good on this matter than so is Trump!

Asif A. Shah Nov 16, 2016 09:21am

Terrible! A bad precedent. Friendship with someone does not mean that one should forfeit adherence to universally acknowledged noble values.

Batul Ali Nov 16, 2016 09:29am

Typical knee-jerk reaction.

Mudassar Nov 16, 2016 09:38am

Totally uncalled for step by our Government.

digthis Nov 16, 2016 09:39am

If it's hurting Pakistan in some way, then it's a good decision. Sab se pehle Pakistan.

Abdul Nov 16, 2016 09:40am

What is the view of Trump haters??

Sonny Afridi Nov 16, 2016 09:52am

Politically motivated. Erdogan hates Gulen to the core, he's aiming to crush anyone pro-Gulen inside and out of Turkiye. But I hope this can be settled amicably. Students and teachers build a bold. Sudden changes could disrupt it. Anyways - long live Pakistan-Turk brotherhood. Regardless who's in power, the two countries are brothers for life. Stood by eachother always.

pakistani.. Nov 16, 2016 09:54am

Wrong move

Faisal Nov 16, 2016 09:55am

Erdogan. Amirul Momineen in making. Our governments being subservient by default would be even patronising Nepal's interest at the cost of ours

Farhan Kermani Nov 16, 2016 09:56am

Cruel diplomacy but Pakistan cant help it. Moreover the schools are not being closed, probably there will be a new staff joining the schools.

concerned Pakistani Nov 16, 2016 10:05am

we don't have self respect #shame on us

Cool dude Nov 16, 2016 10:15am

I don't understand why we have to bow to pressure from other countries like USA, GCC, China and now Turkey. Don't we have any self respect left? What are we? What is Pakistan?

Erdogan is a dictator. We must deal with him with some dignity.

Our future generations will have no dignity left if we do this.

nasir siddique Nov 16, 2016 10:17am

I guess that is the result of turkish investment in our infrastructure. Hope someday we can take a decision on our own

Talat Nov 16, 2016 10:24am

Good move. Finally a wise thought

Ahmed bin Babar Nov 16, 2016 10:29am

No dictation, at least, as regards education...

HM Nov 16, 2016 10:30am

Very wrong move. Its also shame that there is no voice against this

Pakistani. Nov 16, 2016 10:30am

11,000 students in such schools is a big number. Erdogan should not behave alike a monarch and a fascist.

No student was indoctrinated by the Gulen ideologue. Just to please Erdogan, students futures should not be at risk. State relations are important, not between individual persons.

Haroon Salam Nov 16, 2016 10:35am

why?

Shahzad Nov 16, 2016 10:35am

Providing quality education to local students, these must continue.

shawn Nov 16, 2016 10:45am

@CITIZEN turkey is an allie and losing bunch of ppl from an organization over an entire country doesnt balance out

ahmed Nov 16, 2016 10:53am

the government has got insane. when Erdogan leave Turkish power, these good teachers and staff will not come back and loss will be Pakistan's.

noshaba Nov 16, 2016 10:54am

so unfortunate that the ideal islamic state like Turkey is acting so politically that it doesn't care about the education of our kids which is being effected. a good institution is being sacrificed in the name of politics.

wAJIH UDDIN qIDWAI Nov 16, 2016 10:53am

Appropriate move from government to keep themselves aligned with existing Turkish Government . However, from Pakistani perspective its not important that Turkish staff will be leaving or staying, but more important is the future of our students. It is the responsibility of our government to ensure that students are not effected by this decision, which is a big question mark. Taking charge into their own hands, will further aggravate the situation

Ash20 Nov 16, 2016 10:56am

This is called total surrender.

Vague Buster Nov 16, 2016 10:57am

Turks are our friends, it is a good move if it is to secure them from current situation.

Something Fishy Nov 16, 2016 11:02am

What a short sighted action by administration.

Teachers, it is not supported by majority Pakistanis.

The Me Nov 16, 2016 11:10am

Neither bad nor good... its a move

sajjad Razza Nov 16, 2016 11:13am

I believe this has been done in the light of Mr Erdogan visit. Well, they are not making friends in Pakistan by doing these actions.

Our Education is already plagued by incompetent administration and deporting some professional, to appease Mr Erdogan will badly effect our deteriorating education.

DSK Nov 16, 2016 11:23am

@concerned Pakistani , respect to you Dude for criticizing this move.

Mo Nov 16, 2016 11:26am

Stupid, pathetic and poorly advised move. This government never seizes to amaze .

majid Nov 16, 2016 11:29am

@rafaqat certainly it is

majid Nov 16, 2016 11:30am

@Neutral Neighbour beautifully elaborated

majid Nov 16, 2016 11:33am

@digthis surely it is hurting Pakistan,,,,we are already lacking good educational institutions

AW Nov 16, 2016 11:36am

An excellent relationship exists between the People of Pakistan and the People of Turkey. Based on historical ties, Turkey and Pakistan are trade and defense allies of each other. Such relationship take precedence over whatever relationship the Sharif family has with Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan who is a dictator. Relationships between the countries simply cannot be personality centric. We have no obligation to please Erdogan. Would the supreme court please step in to stop the interior ministry from deporting the Turkish staff of the Pak-Turk schools who have neither violated terms of their Pakistani visas nor have committed any crime. Is it is crime to provide quality education to our children?

Annie Nov 16, 2016 11:38am

Pakistan has to realize that there's no permanent friend or foe in the international relations!

farjee Nov 16, 2016 11:55am

I propose imran Khan to start Darna for this woeful act of government....

DAWN READER Nov 16, 2016 12:04pm

@AW Education has never been a priority of any government in Pakistan. The timing and the very short notice given to the Turkish staff shows the incompetence of the decision makers action taken hurriedly without any pre-planning.

Skeptic Nov 16, 2016 12:13pm

That's an insult to the Turkish PM ahead of his visit. Unless the action is being taken on behest of the Turkish government, than it only reveals how feeble and spineless we are to take a intelligent and principled stand without injecting bias and external influences!

Shameful for a sovereign nation.

Karachiwala Nov 16, 2016 12:14pm

Govt should justify the move. Have all these staff members done anything wrong???looks like Imran Khan was right not to attend the Tayyip Erdogan’s speech.

Sarfraz Nov 16, 2016 12:25pm

Its a political decision - not in line with keeping in view the standards of education maintained by the staff and administration of these schools. Unfortunate. Who is going to suffer? Our children!

Think twice. Nov 16, 2016 12:33pm

Strongly condemn the Government action.

Think twice. Nov 16, 2016 12:33pm

All the affected students, along with parents and general public ,should protest.

Think twice. Nov 16, 2016 12:34pm

Shame, behaving very weakly and meekly.

Think twice. Nov 16, 2016 12:35pm

Why are we so afraid of Recep Tayyip Erdogan?

zakhta Nov 16, 2016 12:40pm

@Cool dude every country has to cooperate with his allies. Pakistan cannot afford staining his relationship with Turkey for this small matter. It's their investment so they have the right to decide whatever is going to happen to it. And, If you ever lived in a foreign country then you will know that those governments don't really need a REASON to cancel the visas for anyone. We don't need to criticize our identity for every petty issue. First, start respecting yourself as Pakistani, you will notice other people doing the same. I'm practicing this and alhamdullilah no one dares to speak against my identity on my face.

D K P Nov 16, 2016 12:44pm

@Ahmed bin Babar

Any Dharna/demonstration from your side please.

Usman Nov 16, 2016 12:57pm

Very bad

Sajid Nov 16, 2016 01:11pm

You want 400 people to exit in 3 days, on the orders of a visiting PM.

Can Nawaz or any other PM of Pakistan command that while visiting Turkey..

Really bad move, those in power hardly use any gray matter on the top!

Think twice. Nov 16, 2016 01:15pm

@farjee , If Imran Khan lead the protest, his support base will also increase.

Samad Chaudhry London Nov 16, 2016 01:15pm

Sad move

optimistic Nov 16, 2016 01:59pm

Turkish School system management and the parents of children, should go to the court in Pakistan, as the Pakistani courts are not under the influence of Turkish bullying Erdogan.

Think twice. Nov 16, 2016 02:00pm

@zakhta , Who said that it is their investment? Turkey has not invested. By this giving away to pressure from Recep Tayyip Erdogan, we are only proving that we have no respect for Pakistan people.If you ever observed any foreign countries like USA, you would have observed they will not yield to outside pressure like this.

Think twice. Nov 16, 2016 02:02pm

Even Bangladesh would would have responded in a better way, without yielding to pressure.

Think twice. Nov 16, 2016 02:09pm

I appreciate Imran Khan for his boldness.

Syed sharfuddin UK Nov 16, 2016 02:27pm

This shows the failure of Foreign Office diplomacy to resolve the matter quietly away from media glare and allow the issue to linger on finally reaching this embarrassing stage where whatever GOP does now, it is damned.

Tsriq Nov 16, 2016 02:28pm

@Changez Khan may I ask why is it a good move?

Fawzia H Nov 16, 2016 02:35pm

This is an alarming development. I hope there are replacements of a similar caliber available.

Noor Nov 16, 2016 02:45pm

Perhaps Erdogan is coming with another letter for Panamaleaks case. Nothing short of that could have persuaded PM to put future of thousands of students at stake.

CONCERNED Nov 16, 2016 03:16pm

@digthis Yes it is ... so Government should proceed with the order

Jahangir khan Nov 16, 2016 03:30pm

Only 3 days for families to leave the country, an unprecedented ridiculous move.

citizen Nov 16, 2016 04:21pm

How Pakisthan will react if Erdogen loses the next election? US refused to expel Gulen..We should also show some self respect..

CONCERNED Nov 16, 2016 05:48pm

@citizen Should and when shall be decided then only.. every one in politics and global politics change narratives per situation.

1st objective to have or to improve relationship with countries around us especially when India and Afghanistan somehow are not in good terms...While we try to improve our relationship with India, Afghanistan and Bangladesh and not at all harm in improving relationship with M East, Iran, Russia, Turkey etc.

We are on a single planet and that too is not flat... round means comes back to us :-)

Syed Amir Nov 16, 2016 09:18pm

The decision is unfortunate as it will mostly hurt Pakistan children who are receiving excellent education in science, mathematics and applied sciences. Turkish schools are prized world-wide, and even in the US there is a keen competition for admission to them. Pakistan Government should not cave in to foreign pressure and should always keep country's interest supreme. However, it has an ignoble history of bowing to pressures from Saudi Arabia, Gulf Sheikdoms and now to an autocratic ruler of Turkey.

Ash Man Nov 16, 2016 09:43pm

These people had valid visas and were in the education system and had never broken any laws. And then everyone likes to criticise trump when he says he will deport illegal migrants with a criminal background. Height of hypocrisy.

NAJAM BALOCH Nov 17, 2016 09:17am

PAKTURK the one who devoted their precious years of the life to develop your education system, to brighten to coming generations, to provide your youth international platform and made them to bring hundreds of the medals to you nation, who introduced you and your youth around the world, who ranked up your country's literacy, who showed the right ways to your generations and and and who has many more plannings for your nation's development... but today you (Government) have decided to deport them back to Turkey...shame on government of Pak..

Shahzad Nov 17, 2016 01:52pm

This will hurt studying children badly while huge impact on education sector will be observed.

Diya aneel bhatia Nov 17, 2016 05:11pm

Really a bad move,

Quratulain Nov 17, 2016 05:37pm

I m a student of Pakturk lumhs branch jamshoro . Today I m proud to raise my voice against all these decisions taken by the government. Our turkish teachers are the best they have always taught us the best they have always taught with their Heart they left their country just for the sack of our knowledge and future. They must ask their students how they have taught us,how they have loved us. Since the childhood we always have learned that teachers are like our parents and at this moment they are making us away from our parents our loved once. It feels so shameful!!! Those persons who have done many things for us are now said to leave our country is this bad way!!!!!!

Quratulain Nov 17, 2016 05:52pm

I m student of Pakturk lumhs Branch jamshoro Today I m Proud to raise my voice against all these decisions taken by the government.The people who spend their golden Period of their life in a foreigner country facing all the difficulties and problems in Pakistan.who stayed in the conflict zones of our border provinces but didn't leave the mission of imparting education, Those who Always taught us the good things are now being asked to leave the country with their innocent children Shame on government!!!!!

Imtiaz Faruqui Nov 17, 2016 08:08pm

If the Schools are providing Education and not religious education they should be left alone, we need that. However in Brooklyn New York there is a Turkish Mosque and a Pakistani Masgid , not far from each other, the Pakistani go to Pakistani Masgid and Turks go their mosque. The Turks have a very big Mosque and is named as Cultural center, and they have other activities besides praying.

Masood- Tx. Nov 17, 2016 08:25pm

For the blessings of one dictator, you are destroying the lives of 12000 Pakistani students and 450 teachers and professors. But then this is Nawaz Sharif's govt. he will get another 12000 laborers for his fertilizer factory. And they talk about competing with India which is soaring high in the education field

farheen munir Nov 17, 2016 10:24pm

hey everybody! I am a student in Pakturk Int'l schools and colleges and i want to share with you what I, being familiar with these Turkish teachers, believe about them. Our turkish teachers have always showered on us extreme love and dedication. The sheer joy i have gained from being them is almost impossible to be told in words. These teachers devoted most of their time for ME and for other students. It is unfair that the reward they get for helping us, for helping countless Pakistanis across Sindh and the other provinces, for helping raise standard of the people in Sindh, Punjab, KPK and Balochistan in the from of abandonment from Pakistan!! I urge on the Pakistani government to take back its decision because these teachers deserve better!!! I call upon the Turkish president to take back his decision because they are not terrorists. They are our teachers and they must not be disgraced like this. #wesupportourturkishteachers

wewantourteachersback

farheen munir Nov 17, 2016 10:27pm

hey everybody! I am a student in Pakturk Int'l schools and colleges and i want to share with you what I, being familiar with these Turkish teachers, believe about them. Our turkish teachers have always showered on us extreme love and dedication. The sheer joy i have gained from being them is almost impossible to be told in words. These teachers devoted most of their time for ME and for other students. It is unfair that the reward they get for helping us, for helping countless Pakistanis across Sindh and the other provinces, for helping raise standard of the people in Sindh, Punjab, KPK and Balochistan in the from of abandonment from Pakistan!! I urge on the Pakistani government to take back its decision because these teachers deserve better!!! I call upon the Turkish president to take back his decision because they are not terrorists. They are our teachers and they must not be disgraced like this. #wesupportourturkishteachers

wewantourteachersback

farheen Nov 17, 2016 10:28pm

Hey everybody! I am a student in Pakturk Int'l schools and colleges and i want to share with you what I, being familiar with these Turkish teachers, believe about them. Our turkish teachers have always showered on us extreme love and dedication. The sheer joy i have gained from being them is almost impossible to be told in words. These teachers devoted most of their time for ME and for other students. It is unfair that the reward they get for helping us, for helping countless Pakistanis across Sindh and the other provinces, for helping raise standard of the people in Sindh, Punjab, KPK and Balochistan in the from of abandonment from Pakistan!! I urge on the Pakistani government to take back its decision because these teachers deserve better!!! I call upon the Turkish president to take back his decision because they are not terrorists. They are our teachers and they must not be disgraced like this. #wesupportourturkishteachers

wewantourteachersback

Fatima nizamani Nov 17, 2016 11:53pm

Turkish teachers are our best teacher we can't learn without them please support them we love them alot please goverment leave them for not going turkey only they should teach to us

Fatima nizamani Nov 17, 2016 11:55pm

Pakistan goverment have shamefull because ho are teaching student and pakistan goverment are pushing them to ther country

Fatima nizamani Nov 17, 2016 11:56pm

Ho is with me to support turkish teachers please give in coments

Fatima nizamani Nov 18, 2016 12:01am

Support

Imtiaz Faruqui Nov 18, 2016 02:46am

Gulen is backed by Israel and obviously protected by USA and Pakistan serve USA. You can make out the rest of the story .

PAATCHU Nov 18, 2016 09:12am

Show some spine PAkiSTAN. Turkey is going to be a dictatorship soon. Are you with democracy then should not support guys like Mr.Erdogan. RUSSIA is going to FiX him soon as soon as Mr. TRUMP takes the oath in US.

Ibby Nov 18, 2016 09:37am

In Pakistan we demand proof for everything when we don't wish to act on a request. We ignore the proof for or against when we want to act on a request.

rubab memon Nov 18, 2016 06:37pm

bad move

rubab memon Nov 18, 2016 06:43pm

Very Bad Move........