Lahore High Court blocks deportation of 100 Turkish "gulenist" teachers
In mid-November Ankara had hailed the Islamabad decision. The teachers are suspected of having links to the preacher Fethullah Gulen. For years in exile in the United States, Gulen is accused of masterminding the failed coup in Turkey last July.
Islamabad (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Lahore High Court has blocked the deportation of more than 100 Turkish teachers and their families, for a total of over 400 people, whom the government in Islamabad had ordered to leave the country for suspected links with Fethullah Gulen preacher.
The expulsion was decided in mid-November by the Pakistani minister, who had given the teachers a week to prepare for the transfer. After the judges of Lahore, even the High Courts of Sindh and Peshawar have postponed the decision and decided to protect the educators who work in their respective areas.
In mid-November Pakistan had ordered teachers to immediately leave the country, because of the "non-approval of the request for extension of visa". President turkish Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on a visit to Islamabad in those same days, had greeted the decision with great favor. The stance was in the air for some time, when in August the Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu - on a visit to Pakistan - had stated that "it is no secret that Gulen has institutions here and in many other countries. "I am sure that appropriate measures will be adopted.
The teachers in question work in "PakTurk" schools, a chain of 28 international educational facilities, where more than 11 thousand children study. Ankara accuses them of having links with Gulen, considered the mastermind of the failed coup in Turkey last July.
In retaliation for the attempt to overthrow the government, the Turkish authorities have decimated the leadership of schools, courts, newspapers, universities, arresting tens of thousands of suspected supporters of the Islamic preacher a onetime faithful ally of the president. Ankara has also attempted to extend its influence in the South Asian country, but the Lahore court suspended the order and asked the Interior Minister to report to the Court by January 2017.