SC orders govt to declare Turkey’s Gulen group a banned outfit

Top court's verdict says order stands for Pakistan’s commitment towards Turkey

Hasnaat Malik December 28, 2018
US-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen at his home in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, US. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has directed the Ministry of Interior to declare Pak-Turk International Cag Education Foundation (PTICEF) as ‘proscribed organisation’ and its name be included in the ‘First Schedule to section 11-B of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997’.

The three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Ijazul Ahsan has issued a 15-page verdict, wherein it allowed a constitution petition on December 13, seeking directions to declare PTCIF as terrorist and hand over custody of Pak-Turk schools to the Turkiye Maarif Foundation (TMF), which were established in 1999. Presently, 28 schools are working under this arrangement.

“We are in no manner of doubt the government of Pakistan has international obligations towards the government of Turkey to declare Fethullah’s Terrorist Organisation (FETO) as a terrorist organisation”, says the verdict authored by Justice Ijazul Ahsan.

The court while issuing written verdict said all movable and immovable assets of PTCEF and its schools colleges, tuition centers and other similar entities shall stand vested in TMF with immediate effect. The court also directed the FIA and police to provide full support and representatives of TMF to take over the management of 28 schools set up by PTICEF.

The order said that all accounts in the name of PTICEF and any director, administrator’s employees etc wherever held in Pakistan shall immediately be blocked and frozen.

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“No transaction of funds from the said accounts shall be allowed. The ministry of finance shall take up the matter with the State Bank of Pakistan in order to take all necessary steps and issue directions to give custody of accounts and funds held therein to duly authorised representatives of TMF which shall deemed to have stepped into the shoes of PTICEF with full powers to operate the accounts and use available funds solely for educational activities and administrative needs of the schools, says the order.

The court also directed SECP to declare the section 42 companies created by PTICEF as defunct on account of its illegal and unauthorised initial registration and its affiliation with a terrorist organisation and remove its name from registers of SECP.

The judgment says that the material available on record clearly shows that PTICEF was found by the concerned investigative and judicial authorities of Turkey to have direct link and nexus with FETO.

“This material is adequate and sufficient for this court to grant relief without second guessing the position taken by the government of Pakistan even otherwise all permissions, approvals and NOCs issued in favout of PTICEF by various ministries and government organisations in Pakistan already stand cancelled as in view of our earlier direction that PTICEF may be declared as terrorist organisation on account of such declaration by the OIC, Asian Parliament Assembly and other entities, we find no reasons to override such declarations and resolutions and substitute them with our own”.

The order further says these represent international commitment of the government of Pakistan towards the international community and more importantly towards the Repulic of Turkey with which the government and people of Pakistan enjoy close and highly cordial, fraternal and brotherly relations spanning over centuries.

As the PTICEF moved application to change name of the company “Golden Generation Education Foundation”, the court said that there is neither lawful reason nor justification either to allow the company to exist or to change its name in order to camouflage its real activities.

Therefore, the court asked the interior ministry to reject the PTICEF application regarding the issuance of NOC.



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