Pakistan

LAHORE – It seems that Islamabad is ready to oblige the Turkish government in deciding the fate of Pak-Turk schools after an official of the Foreign Office said that relations with the brotherly Islamic country required its concerns to be addressed at all costs.

“We’re discussing various options to guide the provinces how to handle the issue,” the official said.

“Though we haven’t received a formal request yet from Ankara (regarding the educational institutions run by the Pak-Turk Foundation), the deep relations with Turkey demand that we don’t look out for formalities (of written requests) and remove her concerns on priority at all costs.”

Seeking to allay concerns of parents whose children are enrolled within these educational institutions, he said the interest of the students would be taken care of while devising any policy on the issue, Dawn News reported.

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Punjab Education Minister Rana Mashhood admits the matter is a complicated one. However, another senior member of the provincial cabinet believes the issue has more than one solution.

“It’s difficult to make a decision as the problem has multiple aspects,” Mashhud said, adding that the Punjab government was awaiting direction from the federal government. Another Punjab minister, however, sees no difficulty in tackling the issue and claims that there will be many options as soon as Islamabad gives its policy directive.

The foundation running these educational institutions may be asked to disown its links, if any, with the Gulen movement and suspend all activities that may give an impression of its association with Turkish politics, said an official requesting not to be named as he is not directly related with the education department.

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The ownership of the institutions may also be changed and even the government may take over the same as some of the institutions were earlier being run by the state, he adds.

The Pak-Turk Foundation has, on its website, denied having any political, religious or denominational and financial links with any movement.

An official of the foundation said that the organization had already changed its nomenclature and removed the word “international” from its name when the issue of international NGOs cropped up around a year ago.