Pakistan, along with his family, deported a former director of a chain of private Turkish schools, former school officials reported on Monday, the day for a court hearing on the deportation.
Turkey accused the PakTurk schools founded in 1995 of having connections with the Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen or his “Hizmet” movement, which President Tayyip Erdogan held last year for an unsuccessful coup attempt.
The chain of international schools and universities denies such links, but Pakistan, where Erdogan has made several state visits, when the two countries have established close ties in recent years, ordered his Turkish teachers to leave the country last November.
The schools remain open and are run by Pakistani staff.
Mesut Kacmaz, his wife and two daughters were fled from Pakistan after being arrested in the eastern city of Lahore since September 20, the former school officials said.
“The daughters called us and said they had been deported today, and the father and mother were in Ankara to interrogate, and they believe that they will be imprisoned later,” said a former school official, not out of fear before reprisals Pakistani authorities.
“They have blindfolded and flew to Istanbul in the morning,” said former PakTurk employee Hasan Huseyin and quoted the call of the daughters from Turkey.
A Pakistani court ordered the government not to deport the Kacmaz family until they had decided on the case, the next hearing scheduled for Monday.
The Pakistani Ministry of the Interior did not respond to Reuters’ requests. The Turkish Embassy could not be reached immediately.
The deportation was confirmed by a Pakistani government official who was not asked to identify him.
“The Turkish family was taken into custody by a team of security officers,” the official added. “On Saturday, they were deported to Turkey from a Islamabad special aircraft sent by the Turkish government.”
More than 400 people were asked to leave Pakistan but were protected by the United Nations. About 40 people fled at the time for fear of prosecution, while the rest, including the Kacmaz family, received asylum certificates by November 24 this year.
“On October 13, the certificates were renewed by the United States for another year, but the next day Mesut’s family was deported,” the official said.
The Turkish Embassy in Pakistan has refused to renew the passports of the former PakTurk employees in the country or to issue documents for newborns.
PakTurk has more than 10,000 students in Pakistan, but has not recruited any Turkish nationals since the South Asian nation.