HRCP calls for immediate release of abducted Turkish family in Pakistan

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has called for the immediate release of former Director of Pak-Turk school Mesut Kaçmaz’s and his family including two young daughters who were abducted in the wee hours of Wednesday, according to a report by The Nation daily.

Kaçmaz family had been living in Pakistan for a year, on UNHCR asylum seeker certificate, which allowed them to stay in Pakistan till November, 2017. Sources in the Park-Turk School said Kaçmaz’s has been living in Pakistan for than 12 years. There are 17 Turkish families living in Lahore and 70 Turkish families in Pakistan.

HRCP said the family was roughed-up, hooded, handcuffed and taken in a wagon. “They were taken to a well furnished house where several other interrogators were also present. A Turkish neighbour who protested was also picked-up but later released. He witnessed the entire episode including the abduction and brutality meted out to the Kaçmaz family,” HRCP stated.

HRCP urged the government to immediately release the Kacmaz family and desist from deporting them; as there are credible reports of other Turkish educationists being arrested upon their arrival in Turkey and their subsequent torture.

According to the report, Kaçmaz has been very active person of the Turkish community based in Lahore.  The abduction of high profile Turkish national raised eyebrows among community members based in Lahore. “We are afraid about other Turkish families’ future and this is about the future of Pakistan-Turkey relations,” a close aide of Kaçmaz told The Nation.

“Kaçmaz used to organise session, forums and dialogue at Rumi forum. Government officials and bureaucrats used to attend those sessions in the past. It is worrisome that personality like Mr. Kacmaz who has spent his 12 years in Pakistan now has been abducted,” he said.

Kaçmaz’s was chairman of Pak-Rumi Forum, a forum which has been designated to promote the peace, tolerance and inter-faith and inter-religion harmony.

Rumi Forum was supported by ‘Gülen movement’ inspired by US-based Turkish-Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.

A Pak-Turk School Director told The Nation the fate of other families is at stake after this abduction incident. “We are going to hold a press conference on Thursday to raise our concerns on the incidents,” he said.

He said Kaçmaz spent the best part of his life in Pakistan for promotion of peace and harmony and treating a person like this is not a good gesture at all. He called upon Pakistan government to intervene for immediate recovery of the Kaçmaz’s family.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Turkey’s Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

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