About 400 Turkish expatriates in Pakistan, mostly schoolteachers and their families, on Thursday challenged in court the government’s orders expelling them from the country. Pak-Turk Educational Foundation chairman Alamgir Khan and employees Ramazan Arslan and Murat Ervan challenged in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) the order to expatriate teachers and other staff and their families, including children enrolled in Pakistan, to leave the country before November 20.
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The orders were issued on the eve of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s arrival in Pakistan on a two-day visit on Wednesday. Erdogan had been pushing Pakistan to take action against the Pak-Turk network of schools and staff as they were allegedly linked to his political rival and cleric Fethullah Gulen who has been blamed by the Turkish leader for organising the failed July 15 coup.
Erdogan thanked the Pakistani government for the action against what he alleged was an “evil network” of US-based Gulen’s supporters even as he assured that Pak-Turk students would not be affected.
The Dawn reported that Justice Aamer Farooq of the IHC is hearing the petition.
The petitioners requested the court to set aside the government’s orders and allow the expatriate staff to continue with their teaching and administration assignments in the country and extend their visas till the end of the education session.
According to the petition, 26 Pak-Turk schools and other institutions are providing education to nearly 11,000 students across the country, catering to the educational needs of deserving students free of cost or on subsidised rates and sending selected Pakistani students abroad on full scholarship for completing their higher studies.
It said the foundation also provided employment to over 1,000 Pakistanis.
The petitioners said the orders were unjust, unfair and arbitrary, and had been issued without disclosing any reason.
Before issuing the orders, the petitioners and their families had not been provided an opportunity of personal hearing and they had been condemned unheard, they said.
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