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Pakistan Rights Group Calls For Release Of Turkish Educator

FILE: Pakistani students of the private PakTurk International Schools and Colleges hold placards during a protest in Karachi in November 2016.

A Pakistani rights group has called for the release of the Turkish former director of the PakTurk chain of private schools who it said was “abducted” in Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said that more than 20 armed people in plain clothes picked up Mesut Kacmaz and his two daughters from their home on September 28.

A statement said that the family has been living in Pakistan for the past year on a valid United Nations' asylum-seeker certificate.

"HRCP urges the government to immediately release the Kacmaz family and desist from deporting them,” it also said. “There are credible reports of other Turkish educationists being arrested upon their arrival in Turkey and their subsequent torture."

It was not immediately clear which security agency detained them, and police said they are investigating.

In November 2016, Pakistani authorities deported dozens of Turkish teachers tied to the PakTurk International Schools and Colleges following a visit from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey said the organization was linked to Fethullah Gulen, the U.S.-based cleric Ankara blames for orchestrating a failed coup in July 2016.

PakTurk denies any links to Gulen, who himself denies involvement in the attempted coup.

More than 10,000 students are enrolled at PakTurk’s 28 campuses across Pakistan.

With reporting by AP and Reuters

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