By Muzaffar Khan Awan
Historically, Turkey has indeed been a brotherly nation to Pakistan for a long time. However, president Erdogan’s mis-placed anger and political obsession against respectable Hoja Effendi Fethullah Gulen (a well recognized peace promoting universal humanist, scholar and the brain behind the philosophy of universal education) since 2016 or before does not under any circumstances justify Pakistan to jeopardize and deprive high quality education and a better future of thousands of our own children in Pakistan.
Pak-Turk International Schools and Colleges have been part of a currently well recognized network of the highest quality educational institutions spanning around the world and already popular in over 120 countries. In Pakistan, these schools began in 1995 and the first Pak-Turk School was set up in Islamabad in 1997. The network had thus grown significantly since, and there were 28 schools spread across Pakistan with estimated number of students in all the campuses being around 12,000.
Pak-Turk schools have unfortunately come under unjustifiable and consistent attacks since 2016 by the Turkish government demanding closing down of the entire network following the failed military coup (wrongly being blamed on the supporters of Fethullah Gulen) to overthrow the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. There can not be and there is no evidence that a humanistic scholar in the likes of Gulen could ever be involved in such a criminal plot when he has lived in USA over the decades.
Very recently in December 2018, the Pakistan’s SC gave a judgement of going along with Erdogan as if the children’s schools were involved and were meddling in Turkey’s internal political turmoil of 2016 coup without even investigating the underlying unrelated facts. Pakistani SC decided for Pakistani government to hand over the management of these schools to an inexperienced foreign owned MA’ARIF Foundation with only two years of experience. While Pak-Turk Education Foundation (PTEF) was a not for profit guaranteed Pakistani company, registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) under Section 42 and ran 28 of these pre-school to college level institutions in multiple cities of Pakistan educating more than 12,000 students.
Pak-Turk Schools attracted students from varied backgrounds providing affordable and high quality education to all segments of the population with significant amounts of scholarships being awarded to deserving students, enabling them to acquire quality education and enhance the quality of their life. Highly regarded for their educational excellence, these schools are located world-wide and have over 20 years offered the very best of competitive standards. How can any government allow damaging their very own successful educational system due to internal political turmoil of another country even if brotherly to Pakistan?
WAS THE DECISION TAKEN IN THAT MEETING? (Ahmet Dönmez) (30/12/2018)
The Supreme Court of Pakistan’s decision of declaring the Gülen Movement as a terrorist outfit has once again revealed the facts of politics, interest-based international relations and how the long arms of Erdoğan operate.
It seems that the Pakistani judiciary, which has until recently strived to fulfil the requirements of law despite political pressures, could not persist any longer. Moreover, the Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar’s visit to Turkey before the decision should not be ignored. Nisar arrived in Ankara on December 16 on official invitation of the President of the Constitutional Court of Turkey Zühtü Arslan. Pakistani Chief Justice was received by President Tayyip Erdoğan on December 17. On the same day, he also attended to the commemorative Shab-e-Aroos ceremony in Konya along with Erdoğan. Ten days after, Nisar’s decision against the Gülen Movement was announced.
Before the final decision announced on December 28, Mian Saqib Nisar was invited to Turkey. He was personally received by Erdoğan. We do not know the contents of their discussion. While the Chief Justice of Pakistan was in Turkey, the Turkish Minister for Interior Süleyman Soylu was in Islamabad. Soylu called on Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan and the State Minister for Interior Shehryar Afridi. Right after that visit, on December 20, Islamabad hosted Turkish Minister for National Defense Hulusi Akar.
On Friday, December 28, Nisar’s judgment was announced. Interestingly, the decision coincided with the home stretch of Nisar’s retirement. Nisar will be retired on January 17, 2019. Having sworn in during Nisar’s visit to Turkey and deputized him in his absence.
COURTS WOULD RESIST POLITICS
Supreme Court of Pakistan and the high courts across the country used to balance the political decisions of politicians with their decisions favoring the stance of the Gülen Movement. Now, in the current circulation, it is not known what was discussed, how they were pressured or what the promises were.
SCHOOLS HAVE A PAST OF ALMOST A QUARTER OF A CENTURY IN PAKISTAN
PakTurk Schools have a past of 23 years in Pakistan. Having started in 1995 with their first school in Islamabad, PakTurk educational institutions grew up to 28 branches in Lahore, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Multan, Karachi, Hyderabad, Khairpur Mirs, Jamshoro and Quetta. PakTurk Schools participated in educational and science competitions in 97 countries and bagged 260 international awards and medals. A total of 11,000 pre-school to college level (K-12) students have educated in these schools, which passed out approximately 3000 graduates so far. The schools have spearheaded numerous innovations in education across Pakistan such as the Inter-School Maths Olympiad (ISMO) and International Language Olympiads.