Saturday September 23, 2023

Turkish INGO Maarif to run Pak-Turk schools

November 17, 2016

ISLAMABAD: The Interior Ministry has registered Maarif Foundation, a subsidiary of the Turkish government, as international non-governmental organisation (INGO), thus paving the way to transfer administrative control of 23 Pak-Turk schools and colleges from Pak-Turk Education to this newly registered entity in line with the demand of the Turkish government, sources told The News here on Wednesday.

According to the official record, the Maarif Foundation, recently founded by the Turkish government to serve as alternative to the schools run by members of the shady Gulen movement who now face terrorism charges, would work as INGO and provide education to the students according to the same agreement signed on October 30, 1999 between the Economic Affairs Division and the Pak-Turk International Education Foundation.

Sources said the government has refused to give extension to the visas of 417 Turkish nationals including 110 teachers that are currently associated with Pak-Turk schools and colleges, and they have been asked to leave Pakistan within three days.

It is pertinent to mention here that Turkish President Erdogan accompanied by a high-level entourage including ministers and senior officials as well as a large business delegation is currently on a 2-day visit to Pakistan.

There are 23 schools and colleges in Pakistan run by the Pak-Turk charity. They have 11,000 students and the Turkish government now wants Pakistan to hand over control of these education institutions to Maarif Foundation.

An official of the Interior Ministry said Pak-Turk International Education Foundation was registered in Turkey under the Charity Act and now the Turkish government has cancelled its registration so it is no longer able to operate legally in Pakistan.

It is interesting to note that Pak-Turk schools and colleges were meant to be for the poorest of the poor in Pakistan but these were transformed from charity organisations to business entities in violation of the agreement. The sources said the Pakistan government would now issue visas to teachers and other staff members to be nominated by the Turkish government to run Pak-Turk schools and colleges under the administrative control of the Maarif Foundation.

When contacted, the officials of the Interior Ministry refused to give official version in this respect stating “We are not authorised to talk to media.”