KARACHI: Further staying the deportation of Turkish teachers by another two days, the Sindh High Court (SHC) on Tuesday once again directed the federal law officer to submit laws under which Islamabad had ordered the deportation of the teachers.
A two-judge bench, headed by Justice Munib Akhtar, passed the order on a petition filed by a group of parents, students and teachers of the Pak-Turk Schools against the deportation of Turkish teaching staff following a request made by the Turkish government.
Turkey had requested Pakistan to close down the Pak-Turk Schools run by the United States-based cleric Fetullah Gulen who had been accused of instigating a coup attempt last year.
Therefore, the interior ministry had in November last year ordered the Turkish staff of the educational network to leave Pakistan, rejecting their applications for the extension of visas. Following the federal government’s decision, the parents and students of the Pak-Turkish schools approached the court, which has granted a stay against their deportation ever since.
Last week, the attorney-general had informed the court that the Turkish teachers were being deported after their involvement was established in terrorist activities in Pakistan.
However, the judges had ordered him to submit a law under which such deportations were being made.
Taking up the matter on Tuesday, the judges once again asked the additional attorney-general to place on record the law under which a foreigner peacefully living in the country could be deported.
They questioned that since the Turkish nationals were abiding Pakistani laws and were also paying taxes, then was there any rationale behind the decision to deport them to their country, where their lives are said to be in danger.
The bench further inquired as to what action could be taken against any foreigner for overstaying after the expiry of the visas.
The federal law officer, Salman Talibuddin, informed that amendments are made time to time to the law for action against those foreigners overstaying after the expiry of their visa. He could not, however, produce any documents to support his argument.
Therefore, the judges directed him to produce the law by March 16 under which foreigners were ordered to be deported from the country. Till the next date, they extended temporary stay granted earlier against the deportation of the Turkish teachers.
The petitioners’ lawyer, Abdul Hameed Khoso, said the Pak-Turk Foundation was a non-profit, non-governmental organisation which has nothing to do with the politics of Pakistan or Turkey.
The petitioners submitted that the deportation order would hurt the interests of 11,000 students studying in the schools.
He said the Turkish teachers had applied for an extension in their visas but the government, instead of granting the extension, ordered the staff to leave the country.
He maintained that the Pak-Turk Schools provide inexpensive but quality education. “Therefore, the decision to deport the teachers will harm the future of the students of the schools.”