The Lahore High Court has intervened on behalf of the teachers working at Pak-Turk Schools in Pakistan, and has sought a reply from the Interior Ministry to explain their deportation. The Peshawar High Court has already issued a stay order against the government’s decision as well, with the hearing adjourned until December 1. It will be interesting to see how the Interior Ministry responds, given the fact that there is no real reason for the expulsion of these Turkish citizens, other than the Turkish President expressing a desire for deportation.

According to the writ petition filed by concerned parents and students in PHC, there are 28 Pak-Turk School campuses spread across the country, with 11,000 students enrolled. This is no small number. Compromising on the education of this many students for negligible gains in foreign policy should be reconsidered.

At the very least, the government has a responsibility of investigating whether any of those being deported even had any links to Fetullah Gulen before reacting on the whims of the Turkish President. Gulen has been blamed by President Erdogan as being behind the recent coup attempt, but it is still unclear what harm a network of Fetullah-supported schools in Pakistan could do, even if the Turkish government’s concerns were real, which is unlikely. Formed in 1995 under an INGO registered with the Turkish government, it is hard to believe that an entire organisation has been working surreptitiously to destabilise the Turkish government from a country that’s not even a neighbour.

And as long as the curriculum of the school system does not preach any propaganda against Turkey, there is no reason to deport the teachers at the drop of a hat.

The Pakistan-Turkey alliance is mutually beneficial and should be held in high esteem by the government, but that does not mean that the education of thousands of children and the lives of the families of the Turkish teachers should be completely overlooked by the state. Giving a three-days’ notice for all teachers to leave is just plain unfair. The education system of Pakistan cannot afford to lose a quality school system to politics. Private schools – and a choice few out of them – are currently the only avenues for quality education that can compare to educational institutions abroad. The Pak-Turk Schools were counted in the category of schools that was dispensing quality education to its students. It is hoped that the intervention of the courts will lead to a revaluation on part of the government.