Maarif Foundation to takeover Gülen schools in Pakistan

MALIK AYUB SUMBAL
ISLAMABAD
Published 01.08.2016 00:54

The Maarif Foundation is all set to take over the administration and control of the Fethullah Gülen Pakturk schools and colleges in Pakistan after the successful conclusion of diplomatic and backdoor channel discussions between Ankara and Islamabad. According to sources in Pakistan and Turkey, the Pakistani government is ready to give the control of the Fethullah Gülen schools to the Turkish authorities. In a weekly briefing in Islamabad on Thursday, Pakistan's Foreign Office spokesperson, Muhammad Nafees Zakaria said: "We are in contact with the Turkish authorities to make a decision of these schools. However, the one [matter] that is more considerable is Turkey might suggest to us an entity or organization to take over these schools and colleges."

The Pakturk schools in Pakistan are registered under a charity and nongovernmental organization. According to the draft of the relevant Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) available to this correspondent, the agreement was made between the Economic Affairs Division of Pakistan and the Pakturk International Education Foundation. The document reveals that Pakturk International Education Foundation is registered in the Republic of Turkey under the Charity Act. Subsequently, if the organization's registration is cancelled by Turkish authorities, it will no longer be able to operate legally in Pakistan.

The seven-page MoU is simple and was signed on Oct 30, 1999, four years after of the schools launched, by the then Country Representative Halit Esendir and Joint Secretary Economic Affairs Division, Zaheer Ahmed. The agreement may be terminated at any time upon three months' notice given by either the Economic Affairs Division or Pakturk. Another registration of Pakturk is in the Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) under the registration CUIN 0076038, dated May 25, 2011. This means that for 12 years the group just worked without any registration on a simple MoU to make millions of dollars for the Gülenist empire in Pakistan.

The MoU has been violated numerous of times by the administration Pakturk schools and colleges. The first violation is that these schools and colleges were meant to be for the poorest of the poor in Pakistan and yet became the schools of elites in the Pakistan. To understand what pushed the Pakturk administration from a charity organization toward a business entity and why they threw out the education of the poorest from their MoU, it is best to know that the fees of these schools are approximately $300 per month for A/O Level. This amount in Pakistan rupees makes more than 30,000, an impossible sum even for a middle class family to afford. The sources revealed that the Maarif Foundation will make these schools ideal for those children from poorer backgrounds, those whom Pakturk has exploited over the last two decades to build its corporation.

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