Administration of Pak Turk Schools to be Handed Over to Maarif Foundation

You might be aware of the situation at Pak Turk schools in Pakistan. The Turkish staff was denied extension of visas and were forced to leave the country.

The “Maarif Foundation” was recently registered as an INGO by the Ministry of Interior and will be taking over the administration of the Pak Turk schools.

Backed by Saudi Government

Founded in 2016, the Foundation is currently funded by the Islamic Development Bank and the Saudi government. 28 officials from the Maarif Foundation have already arrived in Pakistan. They are taking a 2 month English language course at the National University of Modern Languages in Islamabad right now.

One of the senior administrators of Pak Turk schools said that,

We see the arrival of the Maarif Foundation as a bad omen for Pakistan. The new administration will radicalise the mainstream education in the country. The United States and European countries have not allowed the foundation in their countries,

He added that the Afghanistan denied handing over the schools to the foundation as well.

The Cause Behind This Situation

Pak Turk schools were established by a foundation connected with Fetullah Gulen. He was once an ally of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. A failed military coup against the government in July 2016 was blamed on Gulen which resulted in a global crackdown against him and his organization by the Turkish government.

The Turkish foreign minister asked Pakistani Government to shut down the Pak Turk schools after the failed coup attempt. By the second week of August, all 28 branches of the school in Pakistan had their principals removed and the board of directors was also disbanded.

Pakistani government refused to renew the visas of the Turkish faculty, which expired in September 2016. They were asked to leave the country by November 20th. The Interior Ministry rejected their application of extending their visas as well. The decision came 2 days before the Turkish president was due to arrive in Pakistan.

Stay Orders By High Courts

Sindh High Court issued a stay order against this decision by the Interior ministry. They were followed by High courts of KP, Punjab and Balochistan as well.

It should be noted that the Pak Turk schools had been operating for over a decade in Pakistan. The students and their parents had grown attached to the faculty and the schools because of the quality of education and the dedication with which the Turkish teachers worked with the students. They were given a farewell by well wishers in Karachi.

Via Dawn

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