ISLAMABAD - Observing that the Government of Pakistan stands by the Turkish government, the Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a review petition against its earlier judgment wherein Ministry of Interior was directed to declare the Pak-Turk International Cag Education Foundation (PTICEF), a related organisation of Fetullah’s Terrorist Organisation (FETO), a proscribed organisation.

It was also ordered in the impugned judgment that the control of educational institutions, being run by the PTICEF, be handed to Turkiye Maarif Foundation (TMF).

A three-judge bench headed by Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed took up the review petition for hearing. During the hearing, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, member of the bench, observed that 40 other countries have also shut these schools down and declared the PTICEF a proscribed organisation.

Justice Ahsan observed that the PTICEF and its related organisations have also been recognised as terrorist organisation by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

Advocate Sardar Ijaz Khan, counsel appearing on behalf of the Pak-Turk school administration, argued that the Turkish government had no role in the establishment of the schools and the Turkish population that had gathered the funds for the creation of the schools.

Court upholds verdict that Feto is terrorist organisation declared by Turkish authorities

The bench, however, observed that the Organisation is declared as a terrorist organisation. Justice Ahsan observed that the Turkish Supreme Court also declared it a terrorist organisation.

The counsel questioned why the Malaysia has not shut down these schools. To this, Justice Saeed told the counsel to go to Malaysia then.

The counsel argued that Pakistan’s interior and foreign ministries allowed this organisation to open up schools here.

Justice Ahsan remarked that the same ministries then informed the court that FETO is turned in to a terrorist organisation and that the organisation is being used for money laundering and funding terrorist outfits. While dismissing the application, the judge said that the Government of Pakistan stands with the Turkish government. The PTICEF was established in 1990. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the Government of Pakistan through its Economic Affairs Division and PTICEF in 1999. In this regard some resources were contributed by Pakistani government and 28 schools were established under this arrangement.

In 1999, PTICEF was recognised under the Turkish Law and enjoyed the support of Turkish government.

In July 2016, the parent organisation of PTICEF, namely Cag Educational Corporation (CEC) was found to be engaged in subversive activities in Turkey and it was found that the CEC was an entity owned and directly controlled by an organisation involved in an unsuccessful military coup to overthrow the democratically elected government of Turkey.

However, the attempt did not succeed and subsequently the investigations established the direct link and nexus of CEDC with PTICEF, which had set up schools in Pakistan.

Turkish government declared the PTICEF and its related organizations as FETO, which has also been recognised as terrorist organisation by the OIC at its 43rd Session of the Council of Foreign Ministries at Tashkent. The OIC also declared its full solidarity with the Government and people of Turkey in its fight against FETO to ensure and preserve democracy, justice, security and unity in Turkey.

Pakistan being member of OIC was a part of the declaration of OIC. The terrorist status of FETO is also recognised by the Asian Parliament Assembly (APA). In view of the OIC’s declaration, many countries extradited and expelled members of the foundation from their territories and took over the control of the schools established by the Foundation.

It is pertinent to mention that the PTICEF was granted the status of an International NGO in Pakistan. In order to conceal its designs, the PTICEF deceptively registered itself as a company with Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) without the consent, knowledge or approval of the original signatories of MoU. Ministry of Interior, however, already cancelled all MoUs signed with PTICEF.

Governments of Pakistan and Turkey developed a consensus on delivering the administrative and financial control of schools to TMF and to give it the effect, the MoU between Pakistani Government and PTICEF was cancelled.  The schools set up by PTICEF were a façade behind which illegal activities were taking place including money laundering and generation and transfer of funds to the parent Organization FETO to finance subversive and terrorist activities.

The December 13, 2018 judgment authored by Justice Ahsan ruled that all accounts in the name of PTICEF and/ or any of its directors, administrators, employees etc, wherever held in Pakistan, shall immediately be blocked/frozen.

“No transaction or transfer of funds from the said accounts shall be allowed. The Ministry of Finance shall immediately shall take up the matter with the State Bank of Pakistan in order to take all necessary steps and issue directions to give custody of accounts and funds held therein to duly authorised representatives of TMF which shall be deemed to have stepped into the shoes of PTICEF, with full powers to operate the accounts and use available funds solely for educational activities and administrative needs of the schools.”