LAHORE: A Turkish couple associated with the Pak-Turk International Schools & Colleges system in Pakistan has been deported to Turkey.
Mesut Kacmaz, his wife and two daughters — Huda Nur (17) and Fatima Huma — were picked up from their Wapda Town residence on Sept 27, allegedly by a law enforcement agency.
The Lahore High Court, while hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by the family’s friends in Pakistan, had ordered the government not to deport them and put their names on the exit control list. The next hearing of the case is scheduled for Monday (today).
The family was living in Pakistan under the asylum seeker certificate which was issued by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and was valid till Nov 24, 2017.
Former regional director of Pak-Turk schools Mr Orhan told Dawn that Mr Kacmaz’s daughters had called from Karachi and informed them that their parents had been deported to Turkey from Islamabad on Saturday (Oct 14).
The couple were handed over to Turkey’s police team which came to Islamabad by special plane
While quoting the girls, he said Mr Kacmaz and his wife were handed over to a Turkish police team which came to Islamabad by a special plane.
The girls left for Turkey by a regular flight via Karachi as they would stay with their grandparents there, said Mr Orhan. He further said that they had other evidence which suggested that the couple had been deported.
Mehmut Ali Serker, a former principal of a Pak-Turk school, confirmed that the Kacmaz couple had been deported. He said Huma had contacted his daughter to tell them their ordeal.
Mr Orhan said they never expected it (deportation) since the matter was in the court. “This is really disappointing.”
There has been no official confirmation from the Pakistani government.
After the failed coup in July last year, the Turkish government had sought the closure of Pak-Turk International Schools & Colleges for being associated with Fethullah Gulen’s movement called Hizmet.
As many as 32 Pak-Turk schools and colleges were running in Pakistan. After the Turkish government had demanded the closure of the schools, an NGO of Pakistan had started operating these schools and colleges.
As many as 115 Turk nationals were performing at different positions in these educational institutions and more than 11,000 Pakistanis were studying in the school chain.
So far 30 Turk families have been deported from Pakistan and more than 70 are still here on the UNHCR asylum certificate.
Published in Dawn, October 16th, 2017