Islamabad [Pakistan], Nov. 16 : Pakistan Interior Ministry has asked the Turkish staff of Pak-Turk schools and colleges to leave the country by November 20 ahead of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit.
This comes as in August, Islamabad had promised visiting Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu that it would look into the affairs of the chain of Pak-Turk schools and colleges that Ankara wanted to be closed for its alleged links with US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom it holds responsible for the recent military coup.
The management of the educational network on Tuesday, however, expressed concern over the "abrupt move" and assured the students and parents involved that it stood firmly against any proposal for "ingress of some other organisation into the teachers and staff of the schools", reports the Dawn.
A senior official of the Ministry said the visas of the educational chain's staff had been cancelled and that letters had been sent to them on Sunday, informing them that they had only one week to leave the country.
The decision was in line with the advice of the foreign affairs ministry. The number of teachers and other Turkish staff in the chain's 28 schools and colleges stood at 108 and the total number of their family members at about 400, the official said.
The network of Pak-Turk schools and colleges was launched in 1995 under an international NGO registered with the Turkish Government.
"Initially, funding was made from Turkey to establish modern campuses in Pakistan. But for the last 15 years or so the chain has been generating its own funds here, offering free education and boarding facilities to 35 per cent of the students, besides awarding foreign scholarships to them," said the official.
The chain's 28 schools and colleges are functioning in Lahore, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Multan, Karachi, Hyderabad, Khairpur, Jamshoro and Quetta.
In the second week of August, the management of the chain removed the Turkish principals of their 28 schools and colleges and also dissolved the board of directors which had representation from Turkish nationals.
Parents of the students have expressed concern that withdrawal of the faculty and change of management will adversely affect standards at the educational institutions.