Pakistan: Court upholds FETO-linked teachers' expulsion

Ruling seen as a win for Pakistan and Turkey, seeking to end terrorist group's presence at home and abroad

Pakistan: Court upholds FETO-linked teachers' expulsion

World Bulletin / News Desk

In a victory for Pakistan’s efforts to expel elements linked to the defeated July 15 coup in its ally Turkey, a Pakistan high court Wednesday upheld the expulsion of over 100 teachers tied to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), reversing an earlier ruling.

Citing the absence of the defendants’ lawyers, a two-member bench of the Peshawar High Court led by Chief Justice Mazhar Alam quashed a stay order issued by the same court last month restraining the federal government from expelling foreign staff of the Pak-Turk Foundation, which is linked to the terrorist group.

The judgment is seen as a win for the government, which pleaded that it was its sole prerogative as a sovereign state to grant or cancel the visa of any foreign national. 

However, the case could continue, as similar petitions have been pending in Pakistan’s four other high courts. 

Qazi Anwer, a defense lawyer said that he would submit an application to restore of the case, as he already informed the court that he was busy with another case, but the court had dismissed his petition. 

The Interior Ministry had earlier ordered the FETO-linked Turkish teachers to leave the country by Nov. 20 – ahead of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s two-day visit to Islamabad. 

The decision, however, was challenged by the foundation in various high courts across the country. The Islamabad, Lahore, Quetta, and Sindh high courts have also stayed the government’s decision. 

On Nov. 17 Islamabad’s High Court dismissed the foundation’s petition against the expulsion, saying the petitioners should have instead sought redress with the Interior Ministry, as granting or cancelling a visa is the sole prerogative of a sovereign country. 

“Permission to enter or remain in the country is the sole prerogative of any sovereign state ... the permission once granted … can be revoked,” Justice Aamer Farooq argued in his ruling. 

But earlier this month a two-member bench of the Islamabad court overturned this and issued stays against the government expulsion. 

The Interior Ministry took the action against the FETO-linked teachers at Ankara’s request over the terrorist group’s accused role in the July 15 botched coup. 

The Pak-Turk Foundation, active in Pakistan since 1995, operates 28 schools in the country, employing over 108 Turkish citizens as teachers and administrators. 

Turkey accuses FETO, which is led by U.S.-based Fetullah Gulen, of organizing the defeated coup as well as a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, judiciary, and educational institutions.

 The defeated July 15 coup left 248 people martyred and nearly 2,193 injured.

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Güncelleme Tarihi: 21 Aralık 2016, 14:00
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