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LHC Stays Deportation of Pak-Turk Schools Teachers

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Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday barred the authorities from deporting teachers of Pak-Turk schools.

Justice Shams Mehmood Mirza conducted hearing over the plea of teachers in which they had challenged their deportation.  The plea states that interior ministry had released the orders of Pak-Turk schools teachers’ deportation that will affect the future of 11000 students. The plea has raised a legal point that snatching the right to education of students is a violation of fundamental rights under the constitution. The petitioners have requested to prevent the closure of Pak-Turk Foundation’s schools and declare the deportation orders as illegal. The court after hearing the arguments stayed the orders of deporting 103 teachers and issued notice to interior ministry. The hearing of the case was adjourned till January 17. Earlier, Pakistan had ordered Turkish teachers at schools with alleged links to a Turkish cleric opposed to President Tayyip Erdogan to leave the country.

The teachers and their families, totaling about 450 people, were given three days notice to leave, PakTurk International Schools and Colleges said in a statement. PakTurk educates more than 10,000 students in Pakistan and denies any affiliation with the cleric Fethullah Gulen, or his “Hizmet” movement. Erdogan has accused Gulen, a former political ally, of being behind a coup attempt in July, and Turkey has previously asked Pakistan to shut down any groups in the country with links to the cleric. “PakTurk International Schools and Colleges are deeply concerned over the abrupt decision of the government requiring the Turkish teachers, management and their family members…to leave the country within three days,” the school said. It added that staff were asked to leave because of “non-approval of their requests for extension of visa”. Turkey has applied pressure to other countries that are home to institutions backed by Gulen, whose “Hizmet” movement runs about 2,000 educational establishments in about 160 countries. Pak-Turk said the schools would continue operating and told students and their family members it was opposed to “ingress of some other organization into the teachers and staff of the schools”. Turkey’s government had suggested that management of the schools be transferred to an international non-government body with links to Erdogan’s administration.

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