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LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday directed the counsel representing the federal government to verify reports about the deportation of a former vice president of Pak-Turk International Schools & Colleges and members of his family.

Justice Shams Mahmood Mirza was hearing a petition against the alleged abduction of Mesut Kacmaz, his wife and two daughters.

As the judge resumed hearing, Advocate Usama Malik appeared on behalf of the petitioner and stated that lead counsel Asma Jahangir was not available due to an unavoidable engagement.

However, he referred to media reports and said the abducted family had been deported to Turkey by Pakistani authorities. When asked by the court, a deputy attorney general expressed ignorance.

Justice Mirza adjourned the hearing for a day and directed the law officer to come after seeking instructions from the government on the latest development.

The court had restrained the government from deporting Mr Kacmaz and his family till decision of the case.

A friend of the abducted family, Orhan Uygun, had filed the petition saying Mr Kacmaz was abducted from Wapda Town residence along with his wife and two daughters.

The petitioner’s counsel submitted that the government through the attorney general had undertaken before the court last year that the Turkish employees of Pak-Turk Schools would not be deported till Nov 24, 2017.

However, he said Mr Kacmaz and his family had been abducted by unidentified persons from their house and there was likelihood that they would soon be deported in violation of the court’s order. He said the police were also reluctant to register a case of the abduction.

The counsel said the Turkish educationists had been granted asylum in Pakistan under protection of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee (UNHCR). He alleged that the incumbent Turkish government resorted to persecution of employees associated with Pak-Turk Schools system on political grounds.

He said the Turkish educationists had been abducted and subjected to forced deportation in violation of the government’s undertaking before the court. He asked the court to restrain the government from possible deportation of Turkish educationists and also place their names on the Exit Control List.

AFP adds: A friend of the Turkish family who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity on Monday — as he feared for his own security — said Turkish police had flown to Pakistan to take custody of the family.

“I spoke on phone with Mr Kacmaz Mesut’s daughters who confirmed that they have reached Istanbul, but their parents were still in custody while they have been handed over to relatives,” he continued.

The daughters, aged 14 and 10, also said that Turkish police manhandled their father during the flight, he added.

Published in Dawn, October 17th, 2017