Pakistani students protest against gov’t decision to deport Turkish teachers

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Pakistani students of the private PakTurk International Schools and Colleges held a demonstration in Karachi on Friday protesting the Pakistani government’s ordered deportation of 130 Turkish teachers.

On Tuesday the Pakistani government asked teachers who work at 23 schools affiliated with the Gülen movement in the country to leave Pakistan by Nov. 20.

A total of 130 teachers are working at Gülen-affiliated schools in Pakistan, which operate under the name of PakTurk International Schools and Colleges. They have been asked to leave the country with their families, numbering 450 people in total.

The decision of the Pakistani government, which was announced by the country’s Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan during a live TV program, attracted criticism from some in Pakistan as well as outside the country who said it was unfair to bow to the Turkish government pressure and deport Turkish teachers from the country who have taught Pakistani children for years.

Pakistan’s decision to deport dozens of Turkish teachers was “politically-motivated,” Amnesty International said. The move has sparked small demonstrations in major cities of Pakistan.

Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Despite Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, whose views inspired the movement, and the movement having denied the accusation, Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government launched a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

About 110,000 people have been purged from state bodies, in excess of 80,000 detained and over 36,000 have been arrested since the coup attempt. Arrestees include journalists, judges, prosecutors, police and military officers, academics, governors and even a comedian. Critics argue that lists of Gülen sympathizers were drawn up prior to the coup attempt.

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