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All 24 students of grade-IV of Batool Fatima’s class were very sad today after knowing that she was leaving them for Turkey, after Pakistan government ordered over 100 Turkish teachers and their family members to leave the country by Sunday.
Shaking hand with her friends and teachers on the last day on campus Batool, 10, broke into tears which made everyone around depressed. “I do not want to go to Turkey. My parents also don’t. Why they are sending us back when we don’t want to?” she said.
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The faculty, the local students and their parents were also downhearted because of the Pakistani government’s ‘sudden and unexpected decision’ to expel over 100 Turkish teachers and their family members (350) on the ‘request’ of the Turkish government.
Since the Pak-Turk schools and colleges has alleged links with the US-based cleric, Fethullah Gulen, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blames for July’s coup attempt, the Pakistani government ordered 450 Turkish teachers and their family members to leave the country by November 20.
The Turkish teachers moved the Islamabad High Court against decision but found no respite as it asked them to approach the interior ministry and disposed of their petition. Batool was born in Lahore when her parents who are teaching at the Pak-Turk School in Lahore. She was fluent in Urdu which she has learned in the company of her Pakistani class-fellows.
“Madam can’t you do something to stop us from leaving this school and Pakistan.” Her plea brought tears in her teacher’s eyes who told her “I will try my best”.
“I know I can’t do anything to persuade the federal government to take back its decision of expelling the Turkish teachers and their families from the country,” a senior Pakistani teacher told PTI. “I must say last Friday was the saddest day in our campus in Lahore as all Turkish students were literally crying,” she said.
The Turkish students’ tear-rimmed eyes moved their local class-fellows and the faculty. They did not want to go back. A woman Turkish teacher questioned as how the Pakistani government could hand over a ‘marching order’ to more than 450 Turkish people without framing a charge-sheet.
“My husband and I moved here 11 years ago. My youngest son was born here one-and-a-half- year ago and never visited Turkey. Pakistan is his country. My other daughter and son are studying in A-Levels and Grade-V in Pak-Turk Schools in Lahore, respectively. We love Pakistan and people here love us too,” she said.