The administration of PakTurk schools on Friday demanded the release of the family of a former director of the institution who were abducted on Wednesday night by 20 armed individuals.

PakTurk Principal Mehmet Ali Seker held a press conference on Friday at Lahore Press Club on the issue of Turkish national Mesut Kacmaz and his family which were abducted from their house.  

“Almost 60 hours have passed since this incident, but none of the officials has given any satisfactory explanation to us. We have been living in Pakistan for a long time and we never had to face any issues ever. We, by no means are able to understand how court decisions can be disrespected and trampled upon so blatantly like this by kidnapping people from their homes,” he said.

He requested the federal government to seriously look into the matter and bring the family back. “I believe Pakistan is a state where there is freedom and we are also part of it,” he maintained.

Former vice principal of PakTurk, Gonul Baris said his children were afraid. “They ask me one question again and again. Will they also take us away Mama? I reply to them that they will not take us. We are seriously concerned about the safety of our lives. Perpetrators of this illegal act must be accounted for and our colleagues should be released,” Gonul said.

Former vice principal Fatima Esra Tosun said they had come to Pakistan to spread education and not on any agenda. “I have three children and one is named Iqbal. We have lived in Pakistan as a family and as independent citizens. Since I have heard about this incident I haven’t been able to sleep for the last two days,” Fatima said.

Mehmet Ali Seker said Turkey is currently the country in the world hosting the highest number of asylum seekers and refugees. “The Turkish citizens seeking asylum in Pakistan since November 2016 are immediately concerned about the latest developments.” he said.

He said the incident was very tragic as 15 people in the guise of police force took the family away from their house. “During this operation he was severely handled, his wife fainted and even then the constables pulled her up on her feet to arrest her, their two teenage daughters had a crying fit,” Mehmet Ali said.   

He added that as a result of the political issues of Turkey and unjustified pressure their visa applications have been rejected by an official letter issued by the government of Pakistan on November 14, 2016, and all of educationists had to apply as asylum seekers to the UNHCR.

Parents, teachers and staff members protested the abduction at Lahore Press Club on Friday, day after a rights group said the family has been living in Pakistan for the past year on a valid United Nations’ asylum seeker certificate.

Pakistan has forged close ties with Turkey in recent years and President Tayyip Erdogan , who opposes the PakTurk Schools, has made several state visits to Islamabad.

Turkey has accused the schools of alleged links to Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen , or his “Hizmet” movement, which Erdogan says was behind a failed coup attempt in Turkey last year.

PakTurk schools deny such links but in November last year Pakistan ordered their Turkish teachers to leave the country.

The schools educate more than 10,000 students in Pakistan.