Oct 152017
 

Pakistan has deported the Turkish former director of the PakTurk chain of private schools along with his family, his former colleagues and a lawyer have said.

Mesut Kacmaz, his wife, and two daughters were flown out of Pakistan after having been detained in September in the eastern city of Lahore, former school officials said.

A Pakistani government official who asked not to be identified told Reuters that the family was deported to Turkey over the weekend.

“The Turkish family was taken into custody by a team of security officials,” the official said.

“On Saturday, they were deported to Turkey from Islamabad on a special plane sent by the Turkish government.”

Turkey has claimed the PakTurk chain of schools was linked to Fethullah Gulen, the U.S.-based cleric Ankara blames for orchestrating a failed coup in July 2016.

PakTurk denies any links to Gulen, who himself denies involvement in the attempted coup.

Usama Malik, a lawyer for the Mesut family, told AFP that the deportation had gone ahead despite a ruling by the Lahore High Court directing authorities not to take any action while the petition was still pending.

He also said that Mesut family had been granted asylum in Pakistan as refugees until November 2018.

There was no immediate comment by Pakistani officials.

In November 2016, Pakistani authorities deported dozens of Turkish teachers tied to the PakTurk International Schools and Colleges following a visit from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

More than 10,000 students are enrolled at PakTurk’s 28 campuses across Pakistan.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

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