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PESHAWAR: Students of Pak-Turk Schools hold a demonstration outside their school in Hayatabad on Wednesday to protest against expulsion of their Turkish teachers from Pakistan.— Dawn
PESHAWAR: Students of Pak-Turk Schools hold a demonstration outside their school in Hayatabad on Wednesday to protest against expulsion of their Turkish teachers from Pakistan.— Dawn

ISLAMABAD/LAHORE/KARACHI: Scores of apprehensive parents made their way to the administration offices of Pak-Turk International Schools across the country on Wednesday, aghast at the news that the interior ministry had directed the Turkish staff to leave the country by November 20.

“We have been told that the institutions will not be closed but a new administration will take over,” said a worried father of two sons who study at a Pak-Turk school in Lahore

Advocate Hafiz Arafat, whose children go to a Pak-Turk school in Islamabad, said they were concerned. “My children have been studying here for eight years. I find it astonishing that the Turkish government is alleging that the schools are involved in supporting Fethullah Gulen’s ideology...We have never witnessed anything irregular at these schools,” he said, adding that it was hard to explain to children the politically motivated decision of expelling teachers they have grown accustomed to over the years.

Syed Ali, whose children also study at a branch in Islamabad, criticised the government’s decision: “This is a serious problem with [Muslims]. We mix politics with education,” he said, adding that the clampdown on schools had damaged Turkey’s image.

In August this year, Pakistan promised Turkey’s visiting Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu that it would honour his request to look into the matter of the Pak-Turk International Schools’ alleged links with US-based cleric Gulen. Now, finding themselves in the midst of a political battle they want nothing to do with, hundreds of Turkish citizens, many of whom have lived in Pakistan since 1995, move to wrap up their lives at a few days’ notice.

Car dealers were called to the schools in Lahore on Wednesday to oversee the sale of vehicles owned by Turkish teachers and staff members. “We are selling them at throwaway rates after being ordered to leave the country within 72 hours. This is highly unfair,” said a Turkish teacher, who serves at an administrative post at a Pak-Turk school in Lahore.

Staff pin hopes on superior judiciary to overturn repatriation orders

He said government officials had stopped taking their calls. “However, we have been told that the police will arrest us if we do not leave by Nov 20,” he said, adding that they feared that they could be detained upon arrival in Turkey.

Talking to Dawn, a woman Turkish teacher demanded to know how the Pakistani government could hand them a ‘marching order’ without framing a charge sheet. “My husband and I moved here 11 years ago. My youngest son was born here one-and-a-half- years ago and has never visited Turkey. Pakistan is his country now,” she said, requesting not to be named as it might invite trouble for the family.

A top government official told Dawn that a team from the Erdogan government would arrive in a few days to take control of the Pak-Turk institutions in Pakistan.

“A body associated with the Turkish government will now run the affairs of Pak-Turk schools and colleges,” he said, adding that the Nawaz government had been under “extreme” pressure to act against the Turkish teachers and their families ahead of the arrival of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The managements of the three main branches of Pak-Turk International Schools in Karachi were hesitant to speak to journalists. An administrative official at a branch in Sheerin Jinnah Colony said they had decided to pursue a petition in the high court, so they couldn’t interact with the press. A meeting at the Sheerin Jinnah Colony branch concluded that since the upper management was taking a legal route, they would have to keep a low-profile till the matter was resolved.

“We have been working peacefully for 21 years now. It is sad that our intentions are being judged,” the official added.

It is said that a pro-government educational foundation called Maarif, established about three months ago in Turkey, would take over administrative control of the schools in Pakistan as soon as the current administration left.

Despite the uncertainty, the official said, the staff members were “not fearful; rather they are not ready to hand over administrative rights without a legal fight”.

Students at the Pak-Turk H-8 Campus in Islamabad said a tearful goodbye to their Turkish teachers on Wednesday. For many, the uncertainty of not knowing what would happen to their teachers once they landed in Turkey was jarring. “I will miss my teacher, Maam Hajra,” said Wila-e-Zehra, a student at the school.

At the Raiwind campus in Lahore, 11-year-old Fatima (name has been changed to protect identity), sat with her classmates of grade five for the last time.

She was three years old when she arrived in Pakistan with her parents who were placed at teaching and administrative posts in the school. Over the years, she has become fluent in Urdu and calls Pakistan home.

“Perhaps I will wake up tomorrow morning and find out that this was all a bad dream,” a tearful Fatima wished.

Published in Dawn November 17th, 2016

Comments (103) Closed

Zak Nov 17, 2016 08:18am

We will not tolerate anybody working against Turkey especially against Erdogan and using Pakistan for their activities.

Sajjad Nov 17, 2016 08:22am

Turkish people are responsible citizens and Pak Turk schools are infact a blessing for Pakistan. I think government should convince Turkish authorities on this subject.

Optimistic Pakistani Nov 17, 2016 08:24am

I hope the court will do justice. Turks are our brothers

Shah Nov 17, 2016 08:29am

Purely political decision. PTI is justified to boycott the joint session under these circumstances.

Karim Azizi Nov 17, 2016 08:36am

Nawaz sharif must tell the nation if he has business interests with Erdogan as well? On what grounds is the govt making this decision? I personally know the Turkish teachers at these schools, by far the most sincere and down to earth people.. they have done more good for our country than any of these so called rulers have or ever will. Pathetic decision by the govt that behaves more like a monarchy and less like a democracy.

Qamar Abbas Nov 17, 2016 08:38am

I don't like President Erdoga and whats been happening on Turkey from last 4 months. At least 1,684 judges and prosecutors and more than 50,000 people been dismissed from their jobs just because they might have been influenced by Fethullah Gulen (exiled in UA), who promoted tolerance in Islam. In Pakistan Erdoga is promoted as a exemplary figure but in last few years Turkey has been playing a role in an unrest of Syria and Iraq. Turkish teachers in Pakistan should be respected for their services and should be given a chance to defend themselves.

Kryptonite Nov 17, 2016 08:42am

The bond between the teachers and the toddlers broken due to shameless appeasement of the dictatorial Turkish govt. Well done.

Questioner Nov 17, 2016 08:44am

On second thoughts, it seems like a strategic quid pro quo, as Turkey has supported our position in the NSG meeting in Vienna.

Arsalan Qasim Nov 17, 2016 08:44am

What ever the cause.. Aren't we suppose to treat our teachers as our parents?

Abx Nov 17, 2016 08:58am

Why are we sending them back. Its not like, they have committed any crime. They are teaching our kids. They should be respected

Akil Akhtar Nov 17, 2016 09:07am

If this is to support the Turkish Govt then it is a good decision.. Our friendship with turkey is more important than one school with links to rebels

citizen41 Nov 17, 2016 09:08am

what's their fault...we hope the govt won't act in haste

sajjad Nov 17, 2016 09:11am

This is absolutely not CORRECT. Ridiculous, Disgusting, Mean, Stupid, Non Sense action done at the hands of Pak Government, it could have the positive gesture i the terms of diplomatic relations at the moment, but it is a blunder in the terms of humanity, education, freedom. it is the death of justice. Do WE HAVE ANY INQUIRY / PROOF OF EDUCATING ANTI TURKEY SENTIMENTS THERE IN THESES SCHOOLS??? CHAUDHARY NISAR, be sensible.

TMK Nov 17, 2016 09:11am

We dont know the internal facts behind this action but the deportation decision is not taken as positive in public.

Zak Nov 17, 2016 09:17am

US says dont buy oil from Iran we dont... Turkey says banish people, We do... and yes we are a sovereign country..

Yu So Yang Nov 17, 2016 09:26am

Keep dirty politics far from education system. Look at the innocent faces of kids.

Hussain Nov 17, 2016 09:26am

I am sure government will not fall into the trap of Erdogan. We all know the education system of Turkey. its a mess. The teachers have done everything for the children. if they would be linked with illegal groups, then, what has Pakistani intelligence been doing all these years?

KHAN Nov 17, 2016 09:30am

How can families be given few days notice to leave? Pak is their home now. They have taught our children and we can't wait for the courts to hear and settle their claims? IS THIS OUR HOSPITALITY? SHAME ON US.

ALEX D'SOUZA Nov 17, 2016 09:32am

Deal between Nawaz and Erdogan, you do my work I will do yours.

JKhan Nov 17, 2016 09:36am

It is not a question of who is running the schools but it is the lack of such schools that is punishing. To please one man a whole system is being destoyed,WHY? Why are the people mum? Only KPK has the moral courage, rest are still living in Ranjit Singh era?

najeeb Nov 17, 2016 09:57am

why are we treating turkish citizens like this? they are our brothers? - just can't understand

ashamed Nov 17, 2016 10:03am

Why are we such people? Why bring politics into everything?

Asif Nov 17, 2016 10:06am

Education Vs. Politics. Who wins ? That's sad!

Nazir Nov 17, 2016 10:07am

Yet another pathetic decision by ,The king Mian gee..... Where is democracy of PPP,ANP and JUI..... Save democracy save the king and kings maker......Disgusting...

ahmed Nov 17, 2016 10:09am


Linny Nov 17, 2016 10:26am

All said and cute and innocent the kids look ...God bless them

LCA tejus Nov 17, 2016 10:38am

It should be " Teacher" in pamphlet.

PPP Nov 17, 2016 10:42am

Oh my god so innocent and cute these kids are. Question is what is the crime of these children and their teachers?

Maestro Nov 17, 2016 10:53am

this step has been taken just to please the Turkish President before his arrival. What a shame.....

Nav Nov 17, 2016 10:54am

Any country which disregards teachers cannot progress. Pakistan is independent country. Just to please dictator of Turkey, it cannot take such disastrous decision for education system of the country.

Maestro Nov 17, 2016 10:55am

Honourable Supreme Court must intervene and take Sou motto notice

Abdul Rehman Nov 17, 2016 11:14am

yesterday, Zarar Khorro was saying on Dawn news, and it's a small ask from a country like Turkey, who is one of the emerging economy of the Middle East and Europe, and when you're sitting in foreign office, you have to take such decisions, because saying NO can affect the relations between the two countries at a time, when we need Turkey for NSG.

Syed abbas Nov 17, 2016 11:19am

It is just political

Zeeshan Hasan Nov 17, 2016 11:27am

Governments come and go! It is the people to people contact which matters and it will have a bad impact in the long run. Why so much bitterness?

PSC Nov 17, 2016 11:49am

Pak govt is bankrupt of ideas....putting your own house to fire to give warmth to others...what a waste..

Piece Nov 17, 2016 11:59am

I find it astonishing that the schools are using children for rallying

Leo Nov 17, 2016 12:03pm

That's very irresponsible move by the government..

ARSHAD JAVED Nov 17, 2016 12:07pm

Why in first place a foreign country was allowed to do so.Close all EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS being run by NGOS assisted by foreign money to be fair with all.

Sikander Nov 17, 2016 12:08pm

Dirty politic of Turk as well

The end is near Nov 17, 2016 12:22pm

Erdogan is making the mess and PM Nawaz supports him.

Masood Nov 17, 2016 12:28pm

This is ridiculous, why to send the teachers!!!

Asif Nov 17, 2016 12:43pm

Why we have to get dictation from every other country? Don't we have any self-respect left at all. Pathetic.

Haseeb raza Nov 17, 2016 12:45pm

This is unfair thats y i hate our poltics they spent years of their age in Pakistan now they r saying to move out with out any solid reason I strongly condemned the decision of Govt. So as There is no roles in Pakistan.... Very sad unfair

Optimistic xyz Nov 17, 2016 12:56pm

This is highly unfair. I myself study at PakTurk and am dissapointed in Pakistani government. Not only do the chain provide quality education but also generous scholarships, unlike other institutions that are simply money making machines. We were very saddened upon seeing our turkish counsellor today, crying in front of us and why wouldn't he? Selling their properties at throwaway prices and amidst that, the tension from the possibility of being arrested once arriving Turkey. After years years of service this is what they recieve from us ? Their children born here know Pakistan as their home and now they are being treated like garbage. Well done Pakistani govt, you really made us proud.

wAJIH UDDIN qIDWAI Nov 17, 2016 01:06pm

Dear Parents, Teachers and Children Please wait for a letter from a Kind or Prince, which can change the fate of all

Zulfi Nov 17, 2016 01:12pm

Pathetic decision and overreaction by PML-N government.

RAza Nov 17, 2016 01:13pm

Turks are our brothers they should not treated like this, Governments may come and go but our brotherhood will not. It is a shame on the current govt. of Pakistan that for soothing a personal agenda of a leader of a country they are playing with the sentiment and lively hood of the people who are serving Pakistan.

I appeal to the govt. to behave in a rational manner and explain it to the Turks and at the same time appeal to respected courts to do Justice to the Turkish people under distress

surya Nov 17, 2016 01:23pm

if you look at the placard you can understand the quality of education it mentioned "Teahers" in place of Teacher

Hamed Quraishi Nov 17, 2016 01:25pm

The Turks are our brothers, but such intervention without prove is not right. Pak government must check all schools before taking actions. If Pak government is not ina position to control schools, how can they run a country.

Spelling bee Nov 17, 2016 01:32pm

@surya . We all make mistakes.

AW Nov 17, 2016 01:42pm

Interior Minister's decision to expel 400 Turkish teachers and their family members just because one man; Erdogan asked for it; is more than ridiculous as well as a national embarrassment and demonstrates how weak our government is and how shallow our "leadership" is. Pakistan has close ties and friendship with Turkey - We are not slaves of Erdogan or any specific personality of Turkey

The Turkish teachers and their families have not violated any Pakistan laws or the conditions of their visa so why are they being uprooted and deported to Turkey? and under what law? This would have never happened if rule of law was supreme in Pakistan and our governmental decision making was based on policies rather than adhoc personality centric executive decisions. I sincerely hope that Islamabad High Court will dispense Justice to the Turkish teachers and their families who have petitioned the court

zac Nov 17, 2016 02:20pm

If the schools were good - the decision to close them will only result in these children suffering. You cannot expect the federal govt to compensate these children when they have failed miserably throughout their tenure on education policies

AMmar SALIK Nov 17, 2016 02:45pm

Its purely a political decesion. Pakistan government shouldnt do this to please Erdugan. Government didn't think about the future of thousands of students.I wonder why civil society and political leader s are not raising voice against this unjust act.

SubKoDo Nov 17, 2016 02:54pm

@LCA tejus What is written on the faces of these innocent kids? Now, will these children grow up and not take this extreme measure as a value-lesson? Educated people would not make such decisions

Tony Nov 17, 2016 02:54pm

@Kryptonite looks like your a feto aswell look at how upset you are

Shahid Nov 17, 2016 03:09pm

Look at this group of innocent and beautiful children beyond the play card. Can anybody see any politics on their innocent faces? Who will explain to them as to why their favorite teachers with whom they have developed affiliation of love as students, are not there anymore to take care of their educational needs. Someone somewhere need to grow up by imagining how would he have felt at their tender age if he were suddenly shocked by loss of his beloved teachers, i. e. only if he can visualize in their right mind.

Dr pattal Nov 17, 2016 03:16pm

It is now Turkeys turn after USA to get segregated.we stand with the teachers not with the motive of two status quo governments.

Omer Nov 17, 2016 03:22pm

Pakistan should have asked something in return, e.g putting pressure on India to resolve Kashmir

hassan aslam Nov 17, 2016 03:31pm

Pakistan sadly has never taken principle stand on anything so far. Its always one individual or government we try to make happy.. gotta keep education and basic life thingizz separate from politics.. I support teachers and students. They have a right to opt legal fight against this political decision..

Pea Brain Nov 17, 2016 03:42pm

@Zak : This is ridiculous.

Anil danane Nov 17, 2016 03:57pm

what a rubbish decision that was how can you interfere education with Politics?

Ahmed Hassan Nov 17, 2016 03:58pm

Get new teachers, as from the picture we see that they cannot even spell "Teachers"

Imdad Nov 17, 2016 04:08pm

Thing like this has never happend in the history. Even the worst enemies respect the teachers ,today we are really ashamed.

PakBH Nov 17, 2016 04:18pm

Very sad to hear this. Future of many childern will be affected. Govt should reconsider their decision and take nation in confidence

white noise Nov 17, 2016 04:22pm

no one using Pakistan for anything, you people need to wake up, don't let a man tell you what to do.

Talha Nov 17, 2016 04:25pm

@Zak who are you? I can understand from your language that you are Pro Erdogan Turkish but pretended as if Pakistani

SYED Nov 17, 2016 04:32pm

When will we stop being pawn for other Muslim countries??

Hakim Afghani Nov 17, 2016 04:37pm

Teahers? Quality education... NOT! They could not even teach to properly write "Teachers"! Now send those Turks back to turkey where they belong.

Usman Nov 17, 2016 04:47pm

Down with Erdogan and down with his Turkey!

Meow Nov 17, 2016 05:00pm

Silly and dumb

Muhammad Ahmed Nov 17, 2016 05:01pm

This is absolutely absurd. We are bowing to pressure from Turkey over school system and making so many people miserable. I expected maturity and sanity from our government to make a more reasonable transition next year on this issue. However, this PMLN government is extremely deplorable and completely irrational in handling even minor issues like these.

Pickles Nov 17, 2016 05:10pm

@Usman you are wrong! Utmost respect for Erdogan but I think he is misguided on this one.

ac Nov 17, 2016 05:15pm

I want to know if I pay school fees next month - to whom will the money go? I have an issue with terrorism if proved /not exjudicial but I also have an issue with theft. Corruption and theft is hidden behind a war on terror

Shailendra.Patil Nov 17, 2016 05:28pm

@Karim Azizi Now Miya Nawaz will bring Chinese , & tell " Learn Chines language it will help you to go through CEPC"

mojazze Nov 17, 2016 05:35pm

Sure is unfair to schools who provide education to Pakistan's children. This is going too far out simply to please one man. Pakistan should take the middle ground.

Iftikhar Husain Nov 17, 2016 05:39pm

Who was responsible for financing these institutions Turkish government or Mr Gulen and who is going to run in future.

ac Nov 17, 2016 05:52pm

Question when the turkish government appoints adminstrators who gets the school fees and ownership of the properties and why would GoP support this exjudicial theft of property and income streams in Pakistan?

brar Nov 17, 2016 06:12pm

@Zak So you admit that they were working against the interests of Turkey for such a long time ?

PAATCHU Nov 17, 2016 06:48pm

Mr.Erdogen came to PAKiSTAN not for any bilateral agreements, No trade with Pakistan ..etc He just wanted to screwing funds for his political rival Mr.Gulen. Mr.Gulen is NOT running any terrorists camps in PAKiSTAN. He is running some high quality schools where PAKiSTANi children were getting some high quality education. So, why a Sovereign country like PAKiSTAN should shut its schools and put its own children's education into jeopardy to provide some political help to someone ?? PAKiSTAN .stand up.. say NO. show some spine.

jm Nov 17, 2016 06:53pm

On humanitarian ground they should be permitted to stay; days awaiting them in turkey would be bleak. Even trump won't do it at this haste.

Syed Zafar Kazmi U.S.A Nov 17, 2016 07:09pm

They must approach the supreme court instead of surrendering to this injustice.

Rex Major Nov 17, 2016 07:57pm

If they really teach such spellings to the little ones, its good they are going!

AKB Nov 17, 2016 08:02pm

Both the Governments should rethink on the decision of closing schools or sending back staff because it is a great set back to education in Pakistan. Political decisions should not hurt future of the children.

Anwar Sadiqque Nov 17, 2016 08:31pm

Erdogan is after anyone innocent or guilty associated with Gulen. The schools provide a huge benefit and now will be shut down due to the demands of a Ottaman want to be emperor. What has Turkey given Pakistan that the Pak government is playing?

GSK Nov 17, 2016 08:45pm


Hope you read more sensible and prudent comments offered by others.

These people are no way less nationalist than anybody else in the country .

Ali Nov 17, 2016 09:00pm

Nawaz Sharif government is falling into the lowest of lows. How can they deport so many turk teachers on a 72 hour notice? Even mafia and cartel lords are never asked to leave on 72 hour notice. This will ruin the left over reputation of Pakistan in the international community and no one will want to invest, stay, or visit there again. I wish all the opposition parties would man up and resist this government from leading the country to become monarchy of Nawaz family. Erdogan had plotted the coup to become supreme leader,,,now Nawaz family is trying to become supreme leaders in pakistan. They need to be stopped. This is not good for the future of the country.

JAVED RAHMAN Nov 17, 2016 10:32pm

@Zak what is the proof that someone is working against Erdogan? Without documentary proof don't talk in air.

Guest Nov 17, 2016 10:33pm

@Zak Pakistan took this action to protect the human rights of Turkish government.

JAVED RAHMAN Nov 17, 2016 10:33pm

@Shah long live IK

Guest Nov 17, 2016 10:35pm

@zac We have so many madrassahs we do not need Turkish school.

Bin Adam Nov 17, 2016 11:05pm

The wrath of God may fall upon those who would deport the Turkish teachers unless they have any proven record of criminal, terrorist or any other offense. Not a single instance been hitherto reported of these Turkish teachers engaged into any illegal activities. Even if the Turkish School founder/s may have any hidden link with the alleged opponent of Turkish president for whom we have great respect, these poor teachers have nothing to do with their hidden agendas. These teachers joined the institution just to earn bread and butter for self and their families. Almost 100 % students of Turkish schools have expressed their utmost love and appreciations for their Turkish teachers. Pakistan Government must not deport these teachers and nor become party to internal politics of any other Country and let the Supreme Court give their verdict on this very sensitive matter. Pak Govt must not deport them to harms way for blind victimization let the Court decide.

sars Nov 17, 2016 11:15pm

we all are requesting that don't deport our teachers plzzzz

B.Patel. U.S.A Nov 17, 2016 11:31pm

@surya , pl ignore the spelling mistake. Look at the faces of the little children . How can you sleep at nite after telling them that their second home will be gone by no fault of them or their teachers ?

ghazala Nov 17, 2016 11:47pm

This is so distasteful . It is really making the Turkish goverment look bad. Why should these children and their parents and the school staff be made scapegoats? What is their crime? Why are these people being punished A mere allegation that PakTurk schools are associated with Fethullah Gulen that has never been substantiated? And if there is an association how serious can it be? I mean are the schools recruiting grounds for anti - Erdogan, pro regime -change activists? Are they really that politicised? PKK sympathisers are they? Does the Turkish goverment know how much damage it is causing ? Why is the Pakistani goverment of Nawaz Sharif so spineless? It cannot stand up for the welfare of its own citizens and for those Turkish citizens who are actually providing an educational service of high quality- something which the goverment itself has failed to do. Is it right that based upon an unqualified phobia children's educational prospects and peoples livelihood be ruined?

Dr. Salaria, aamir ahmad Nov 18, 2016 12:22am

For sure, this isn't fair, just and legitimate.

john cool Nov 18, 2016 03:22am

Pathetic and sad.These teachers are political scapegoats to legitimize the alleged coup. The tyrant has succeeded in Pakistan.

john cool Nov 18, 2016 03:41am

I hope all the teachers and school staff seek asylum in other countries otherwise they will go to jail or worse.

john cool Nov 18, 2016 03:46am

@brar @Zak So you admit that they were working against the interests of Turkey for such a long time ?

déjà vu that what Germans said about Jews in second world war.

Sameen Bawla Nov 18, 2016 04:22am

The teachers should have been screened out and those with no involvement with Gulen should be allowed to stay and teach.

Paul Nov 18, 2016 04:42am

This is the difference between us and West...We will do anything to please other and ignore all the rights and rules.

majid Nov 18, 2016 08:30am

@Zak it should be the nation not the individuals we should align with,,, assume if Gullen comes into the power, what would we do then ??,,,, erdogan is otherwise a despot and a dictator/ religious fundamentalist

Muhammad Nov 19, 2016 01:34pm

school should not be closed Truk Gov should take over this responsibility and keep running these school. why Pakistan suffer for this.

Logicaldude Nov 19, 2016 08:19pm

Friends are friends and the law is the law, if neither the administration nor the individual staff of the school have violated no Pakistani law, they should be left alone. Pakistan Government should act with polite indifference towards pressures of the Turkish government. Let Turkish government deal with their errant citizens upon return to their country (if the Turkish statute of limitations hasn't expired on the alleged offences). We are sowing seeds of disruption in our excellent relationship with Turkey by taking unprincipled positions.