Pakistani government deports abducted Turkish teacher and family despite UN protections

  • Kacmaz family was blindfolded and boarded on an unmarked flight from Islamabad to Istanbul
  • Lahore High Court had asked Interior Ministry to locate and release the family and not deport them until further notice
  • The Turkish family was scheduled to appear before Lahore High Court on Monday
Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – The abducted Turkish teacher Mesut Kacmaz and his family were reportedly deported by Pakistani government to Turkey on early Saturday.

The Turk family was scheduled to appear before court on Monday. Mr. Kacmaz and his family were abducted from their home at midnight in Lahore on September 27. Pakistan’s top court, on 6th October, had ordered Interior Ministry to locate and release the Turk Family. The family was under the protection of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

10 Days of mysterious abduction; LHC asks authorities to locate and release Kaçmaz family

According to Mesut Kacmaz’s friends and colleagues, he and his family were deported to Turkey on Saturday, blindfolded and via an unmarked flight from Islamabad to Istanbul. Mr. Kacmaz and his wife Meral Kacmaz were reportedly transferred to Ankara for interrogation while their teenage daughters are reportedly staying with a relative in Istanbul.

Kacmaz family’s friends stated,  “We are in utter shock as we have just learnt that Mr. Mesut Kaçmaz and his family were deported to Turkey on October 14, 2017. He and his wife Meral Kaçmaz were moved to Ankara for interrogation. They were blindfolded and boarded on an unmarked flight from Islamabad for İstanbul in the morning. As confirmed by Meral Kaçmaz’s parents and the daughters, the teenaged daughters are not detained and are reported to be staying with a relative in İstanbul.”

They called this action “a blatant violation of the family members’ UNHCR protection”. The Kacmaz family’s UNHCR protection was till November 25, 2017, however, the most recent certificate extended the protection until October 13, 2018. Also, Lahore High Court had ruled out deportation of Kamcaz family or any-other Turkish teacher, on 6th October, 2017.

“What power may bypass the rule of law in Pakistan and ‘deport’ them stealthily to Turkey?”, Concerned friends of the family asked, “It is reported that their names are not found on any flight manifest bound for İstanbul on Saturday.”

 

The four members of the Kaçmaz Family have been under the protection of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and were abducted from their house in Wapda Town, Lahore along with another Turkish friend, Fatih Avci, who was released shortly afterwards.

Turkish ex-director of Pak-Turk school, family kidnapped from Lahore

Mesut Kacmaz, a graduate from the Department of Urdu Language and Literature in Konya’s Selcuk University in Turkey, has been working for education and cultural activities in Pakistan since 2007. His wife, Meral Kacmaz is a teacher like himself. The Kacmaz family has been living in Pakistan for over ten years.

 

The former director Mesut Kaçmaz worked as the principal of the Pak-Turk Clifton Boys School. The school has so far, passed out hundreds of graduates and represented the country successfully by receiving medals at international science Olympiads. In 2008, the New York Times gave coverage to the constructive role of the PakTurk schools and their achievements by quoting Mr. Kaçmaz.

The troubles for Turkish families residing in Pakistan began in after the Gullen-Erdogan controversy. Erdogan asked Pakistani Government to close all the cultural and educational activities being conducted by Gullen’s institute and deport the associated Turkish workers.

In November 2016, the Pakistani government, under pressure, did not extend the visas of Turkish teachers and their families and ordered them to leave the country within three days. Teachers moved to courts and objected the decision. They also applied to the UNHCR and were issued asylum seeker certificates placing them under the UN protection.