Turks being picked up for interrogation in Pakistan

In the early hours of Wednesday, September 27, 2017, Mr. Mesut Kacmaz and his family – Mrs Meral Kacmaz (wife), Ms Huda Nur Kacmaz (17) and Ms Fatma Huma Kacmaz (14) – were abducted from their house located in Wapda Town district of Lahore. Mr Fatih Avcu, a fellow educationist, witnessed the incident and he was arrested by the raid squad, later to be released.

Mr. Kacmaz and his family, along with the witness, were blindfolded and draped in hoods on their heads before being boarded on the squad vehicles. During scuffle, Mr. Kacmaz received light injuries, Mrs Kacmaz fainted and the teenager daughters burst into crying fits. In the light of the witness statement, the family was kept in a fully-furnished safehouse in an unknown location in Lahore.

There are numerous speculations about the identity and institution of the abductors; however, there’s no denial in how appalling it is to blindfold and slip hoods on women and children. The abductors – who must have been motivated by a blank check attitude were extremely brazen.

Mr. Kacmaz and his family faces imminent deportation to Turkey, where they will unquestionably be subjected to torture and incarceration while their children may be sent to a state orphanage. According to an unofficial remark, Mr. Kacmaz and his family have now been brought to Islamabad for deportation. This incident has triggered great reaction and unease among the rest of the Turkish asylum-seeking educationists across Pakistan. As a result of this fear, most of the families have been spending the night out of their homes to evade any potential raid or harassment. Especially, the children and women have been affected psychologically by the current situation which force them to leave the comfort of their homes and seek refuge at local families’ houses.

On Wednesday, September 27, 2017, at 8:00 pm, another Turkish national was harassed by a group of armed people – seemingly FIA police officers but behaving strangely – who wanted enter and question him. Having been denied entry, they got angry and threatened him with dire consequences. They questioned the residents about other Turkish nationals who are under UNHCR protection and threatened that if they will be handed those people, they will conduct raids to all houses of Turkish nationals in Islamabad. After their departure, the residents wrote a complaint to the FIA about the incident; surprisingly, FIA officials stated that no squad was dispatched to interrogate any Turkish national in the vicinity of the house which was tried to raided.

In full violation of the earlier decisions of the Lahore High Court and similar other high courts in Pakistan, the law enforcement agencies conducted and are conducting raids/psychological tactics to intimidate Turkish educationists who are under the UNHCR protection through asylum seeker certificates. None of the Turkish families are feeling safe to stay in their residence, fearing impending raids. All of the Turkish educationists are law-abiding foreigners who have not been involved any illegal and/or detrimental activities in and out of Pakistan. Having been deprived of their teaching jobs as a result of a political deal between the governments of Pakistan and Turkey in November 2016, Turkish teachers have been victimized by a crisis which is not of their doing.

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