Pak-Turk schools issue: Foundation moves court for fear of closure

IHC directs DAG to seek instructions from ministries of interior, foreign affairs


Rizwan Shehzad August 04, 2016
Rehman said that the Pak-Turk International Schools and Colleges in Pakistan had no affiliation or connection with any political individual, movement or organisation, and have no financial relationship with any movement. PHOTO: IHC WEBSITE

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) directed the deputy attorney general to seek instructions from the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after Pak-Turk Education Foundation moved the IHC against the possible closure of the network by the government, on Wednesday.

Justice Aamer Farooq directed the DAG to apprise the court on August 5 after seeking instructions from the government.

The counsel for the Pak-Turk Education Foundation, Hafiz Rehman, has prayed before the court to allow them to keep functioning as such without any interference.

While citing the apprehensions that Pakistani government would either close down these schools or transfer their assets to some other entity, the counsel has also prayed before the court that the network of schools should not be taken over by anyone.

The future of private schools has plunged into uncertainty after Turkey’s ambassador called on the Pakistan government to close down all the institutions backed by the Fethullah Gulen-inspired Hizmet Movement.

Moreover, during an official visit to Islamabad, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Tuesday stressed the chain of ‘Gulen-run’ schools in Pakistan be shut down.

Ankara claims that Gulen, who is living in self-imposed exile in the United States, was the alleged mastermind of the recently failed military coup plot in Turkey.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan blamed the cleric’s followers for the rebellion and demanded his extradition, though Gulen had denied any involvement.

In his arguments, Rehman said that the foundation was registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan and had a valid license to function.

He said that over 11,000 students and 1,500 teachers would be directly affected if the 23 PakTurk schools in Pakistan were closed down.

Rehman said that the Pak-Turk International Schools and Colleges in Pakistan had no affiliation or connection with any political individual, movement or organisation, and have no financial relationship with any movement.

He added that the foundation was being run by an eight-member board of governors.

Meanwhile, the court allowed the DAG’s request that he could submit his reply only after taking instructions from govt in the matter.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 4th, 2016.

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