As Pakistan has recently decided to expel 108 Turkish teachers from 28 international schools across the country, video footages showing tens of Pakistani students and parents protesting the deportation order in several branches across Pakistan went viral on the social media on Saturday.
In the footages, several hundred students in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi are seen demonstrating against the decision, while Turkish teachers bid farewell to their students in tears.
Ahead of an official visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Pakistan confirmed Nov. 16 it had ordered the deportation of 130 teachers along with school staff and their families, some 450 people in total, by Nov 20.
On Nov. 17, Amnesty International said that the decision was “politically-motivated.” The move “will only hurt Pakistan’s children”, Amnesty International said in the statement.
“The sudden move to issue marching orders, and that too on the eve of Mr. Erdoğan’s visit, smacks of intentions that may have nothing to do with the quality of teaching or education,” said an editorial in Pakistan’s biggest English-language newspaper Dawn.
“What the country needs is more classrooms and more teachers, not a politically-motivated decision to purge educators at the behest of the Turkish government,” the rights group’s South Asia Director Champa Patel said.
BBC reported on Thursday that Erdogan, who is currently in Pakistan, described the decision as “very pleasing.”
PakTurk International Schools and Colleges posted a statement on its website on Tuesday voicing concern about the decision of the Pakistani government with regard to the Turkish teachers working at these schools in Pakistan.
“PakTurk International Schools and Colleges are deeply concerned over the abrupt decision of the Government requiring the Turkish teachers, management and their family members numbering to approximately 450 individuals including the school-going children, infants and ladies to leave the country within three days – an extraordinary time constraint – in consequence of non-approval of their requests for extension of visa,” said the statement.
However, for the parents of students at the affected schools, the decision to expel the teachers is concerning. Pakistani newspaper Dawn reported on Thursday that Hafiz Arafat, a parent whose children attend a PakTurk school in Islamabad, was having difficult time explaining the situation to his kids.
“My children have been studying here for eight years. I find it astonishing that the Turkish government is alleging that the schools are involved in supporting Fethullah Gulen’s ideology,” Arafat told Pakistani newspaper Dawn. “We have never witnessed anything irregular at these schools,” he added.
— Turkey Observed (@TurkeyObserved) November 20, 2016
— Turkey Observed (@TurkeyObserved) November 19, 2016
— Ruh_e_Rawan (@Ruh_e_Rawan) November 19, 2016
Öğretmen var milletin anasını ağlatır, öğretmen var arkasından ağlanır! Sizler gibi bir muallim olabilmeyi isterdim pic.twitter.com/22k0jG81VM
— İsmail Cingöz (@ismailcingoz1) November 19, 2016