Court directs interior ministry to give timeframe for Turkish staff deportation

Students protest against expulsion of their teachers

Zubair Qureshi

Islamabad—The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday while directing the Interior Ministry not to expel the Turkish staff of the Pak-Turk schools in a hasty manner disposed of a petition by the Chairman of the Pak-Turk Education Foundation and two Turk teachers of these schools. The court also directed the petitioners to approach the Interior Ministry for matters like extension in their visa or further stay in the country.
According to the petition, the Turkish teachers on June 22 had applied for visa extension but the federal government without giving any valid reason rejected that application on Nov 11. “Not only our application for visa extension was turned down we were also directed to leave the country by Nov 20,” further says the petition.
On Thursday, however, Justice Amer Farooq directed the Interior Ministry not to expel the Turkish staff in such a hurry. Earlier, while hearing the matter the court asked the Standing Counsel why an officer of the Joint Secretary level had not appeared despite orders by the court. The counsel told that he had conveyed the court’s orders to the ministry of Interior. Upon this the judge adjourned hearing for one hour directing the ministry to send its official within an hour. After the time, a Joint Secretary Salman Qayyum and a Deputy Secretary Nyla Zafar of the Ministry appeared before the court and informed that the visas of the Turkish staff of the Pak-Turk schools had expired on September 9. They further informed that the Ministry had not received any application by the Turkish staff of the Pak-Turk schools for extension in their visas. Upon this the court directed the ministry to chalk out a timeframe for the Turkish staff to leave the country and act according to that.
Meanwhile students of the Pak-Turk schools staged a protest demonstration in front of the National Press Club against expulsion of their teachers from Pakistan. They termed the government’s action against their teachers violation of their fundamental rights and indifference to their education. The students were chanting slogans and holding placards against deportation of their teachers and vowed to resist it come what may. It may be mentioned that in all the 26 campuses of the Pak-Turk schools more than 11,000 students are studying and there are 108 Turkish teachers in those schools.
“If the Turkish teachers of the Pak-Turk schools are sent packing, not only 400 members of their family will be affected but the current academic session will also suffer badly causing implications on the students’ education,” said a student.
It was on Nov 14, the ministry ordered the Turkish staff of the educational network to leave Pakistan within a week. The extension in visa applications of these staffers have already been rejected.

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