The fact that we don’t get disgusted or, fail to even be bothered, is appalling. A society and its infrastructure, that is to be a representation of humanism, cannot be home to a populace that fails to point and protest what’s wrong. Such a society has no place for people who are ignorant out of choice and immune out of sheer laziness.

Such a society seems to be a faraway dream in Pakistan.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Pakistan, in normal circumstances, wouldn’t have garnered much attention. Erdogan is no Obama or Merkel. He’s not Xi Ping whose country is the lifeline to ours and who basically compose the music around CPEC the government seems not to get tired of dancing to. And, of course, he’s not Modi, the man we all love to hate.

And yet, that he manages to pull out our government’s spine, and puppet it to ridiculous decisions, is befuddling. The government’s decision on the Pak-Turk schools must go down in the state’s history as nothing less than a direct attack on education. Or, at least, a stark reminder of what the government prioritises and what the future of the nation’s children is worth. It is hard to imagine the PML-N brigade rationalising its decision. Maybe, it didn’t have to. After all, the nation at large is not famous for its consciousness. Who cares if the future of students is at peril?

Erdogan is blatantly totalitarian in his governance, presiding over a population that is incredibly polarised and a state that’s compulsively confused. At the international stage, Erdogan deserves much blame for the strength of IS and similar Jihadi groups in neighboring Syria. Locally, he’s made a mockery of the country’s democracy, the institution he championed to protect in July this year. The world at large has condemned him for his misdirected and exaggerated reaction to the coup attempt. Turkey, given Erdogan’s decision to mute opposition, has indulged in a plethora of human rights abuses. It has outstripped China as the world’s leading nation in jailed journalists. Post the attempt, more than 40,000 persons have been imprisoned with the country giving parole to actual criminals to make space for the new prisoners. The government has removed an upwards of 80,000 individuals from their jobs including around 300 prosecutors and judges. According to BBC, 15,000 educational staff were suspended along with 1500 university deans being asked to resign and 21,000 teachers’ licenses were revoked. All this was done under the idea that every single one imprisoned was either on the payroll or are under the influence of Fethullah Gulen who is accused to be the mind behind the coup. The paranoia of the Turkish government continues to go overboard with the government locking down on dancers, novelists, pageant winners and literally anyone who says anything against the government. The Human Right’s commission has pointed out the suffocation of free speech in the country, but to no avail. Turkey, it seems, is no place for any thought that does not fall in line with Erdogan’s view.

But, all these, are Turkey’s problems and Pakistan has its own problems to worry about. However, when Erdogan pushes his influence onto local schools, it does become a problem for the common Pakistani and it is the nation’s duty to see it as such.

A day before Erdogan was to land in Pakistan, the Pakistani government issued orders to almost 450 Pak-Turk staff members and their families to leave the country within 3 days. Although the government suggests otherwise, the order comes solely to appease Erdogan who insists that the schools are linked to Gulen and hence are terrorist entities. As a result, the teachers who are an integral part of the educational lives of thousands of students are expected to leave midyear, leaving the education system in complete disarray.

Some 100 students, teachers and the administrative staff of the school-system protested outside Karachi press club a day ago, holding banners that read ‘teachers are for education, not deportation’. And this is true. It is ironic that a country like Pakistan with its dismal education standards and infrastructure would target the bodies that impart knowledge. Or, maybe, it is not ironic and falls perfectly in place and context with the state and its priorities.

It is infuriating to see the populace not pay heed to this attack on the concept and process of education. It is equally depressing to see the populace not react to shortsighted, opportunist and self-appeasing decisions by the government. It is indeed disgusting that the Pakistani nation is not disgusted.