From old villas to campus schools: PakTurk’s quarter-century history…

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From old villas to campus schools: PakTurk’s quarter-century history…

Founding a school in Pakistan was a modest move inspired by a sublime ideal followed by a group of education volunteers at the outset of the 90s. The journey of PakTurk, started with in a school building converted from an old villa notwithstanding shortages, reached highly successful education complexes spread across the country in 25 years. However, at the end of 2018, this journey was interrupted by the intervention of dark hands. In the infographic below, you will visit the milestones of the quarter-century of this success story.

1993

A group of Turkish students arrived in Islamabad to receive higher education. While studying at university, they focused on the project of founding a school with Turkish and Pakistani educators.

It all started with a group of idealistic young men

A foreign geography, a different culture, scarce opportunities and myriad obstacles… None daunted the hearts devoted to education…

1995

The first PakTurk International College was opened in the F-10/4, Islamabad. The college started with providing secondary and high school education to boys, in a building converted from a large villa.

The first male student hostel was opened in the F-10/4, Islamabad.

The first schools converted from villas

With the efforts of the Turkish educators and helped by their Pakistani colleagues, the rented old villas were converted into school buildings in a short time.

1997

Pre-school and primary school classes were opened in the boys’ college building in F-10/4, Islamabad.

Secondary and high school classes were opened for female students in a separate building in F-10/3, Islamabad.

A pre-school and primary school opened in Gulshan-e Iqbal, Karachi.

K-12: Pre-School to High School

Opened one after another, PakTurk Schools received students of all age groups, from kindergarten to high school.

1999

PakTurk Schools, having served under a company, joined the non-profit education foundation named International Cag Education Foundation (PTICEF).

International Educational Foundation

Having carved their place in the education community soon, PakTurk Schools ran under a foundation and received students on scholarships.

2001

A primary school providing education under difficult conditions opened in Attock, a city in Pakistan’s north-western Sarhad (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) province.

A kindergarten and primary school were opened in Hayatabad, Peshawar and in Gulberg and Cavalry Ground districts of Lahore.

PakTurk School opened in Chaman Housing, Quetta providing education to students from kindergarten to high school.

PakTurk Schools grow

After the capital Islamabad and large cities, PakTurk branches opened in other cities across Pakistan teemed with students.

2002

A kindergarten and primary school opened in the repaired former Colonel Shah Hostel building opened its doors to education in Khairpur Mirs.

A kindergarten and primary school opened in Pashtunabad, Quetta.

Primary and high school in F-10/4, Islamabad moved to their respective new buildings in Sector F-10/3.

Seeking new school buildings

When the old and small school buildings became insufficient thanks to the people of Pakistan’s overwhelming interest in the PakTurk Schools, projects to open new and larger schools accelerated.

2003

A kindergarten and primary school opened their doors to education in Ali Chowk, Multan.

Secondary school classes started in Khairpur Mirs.

The primary school in Cavalry Ground, Lahore moved to Gulberg III and secondary classes started.

2004

The primary school in Islampura, Lahore opened its doors to education.

Multan, Khairpur Mirs, Lahore…

PakTurk Schools swiftly attracted the attention a few institutions would get in the world of education. The number of students doubled every year.

2005

A secondary school was opened in Bosan Road, Multan. Secondary school classes for girls started in Ali Chowk branch.

PakTurk Schools was represented for the first time in the grand final of the International Turkish Olympiads in Turkey.

The nationwide Inter-School Mathematics Olympiad (ISMO), which would become one of Pakistan’s prominent brands in education, had its modest start in Quetta.

Pakistan’s education brand: ISMO

The first step of the nationwide Inter-School Mathematics Olympiads (ISMO) was taken at the Quetta branch of PakTurk Schools.

2006

Kindergarten and high school classes started in Gulberg, Lahore.

PakTurk Boys’ College in Chaman Housing Society moved to its new building on Quarry Road, Quetta.

PakTurk Schools made great efforts to heal the wounds after the devastating earthquake in the northern regions of Pakistan and Azad Kashmir.

PakTurk Schools’ educational achievements and humanitarian work were rewarded with the Sitara-e-Eisaar, Pakistan’s highly respected civilian award.

Outstanding Service Medal for the PakTurk Schools

PakTurk Schools also attracted attention with their humanitarian relief activities after natural disasters. This selfless effort was rewarded with Pakistan’s most prestigious civilian medal.

2007

PakTurk Schools moved from rental buildings to purpose-built campuses owned by the PTICEF.

PakTurk Boys College moved from a rented building in Sector F-10/3 to its purpose-built campus in Chak Shehzad, Islamabad.

PakTurk School in Gulberg moved its purpose-built campus on Raiwind Road, Lahore.

PakTurk Boys College opened in Clifton, Karachi.

Shifting to campus schools

Shining like a star in Pakistan’s education world, PakTurk Schools accelerated their investments in educational infrastructure. PakTurk Schools moved to their purpose-built buildings and campuses one after another.

2008

Secondary school classes started in Islampura, Lahore.

PakTurk Girls College opened in Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Karachi.

Construction of PakTurk campuses in Peshawar and Quetta started.

May 4, 2008

PakTurk Schools make the headlines in The New York Times, which praised the schools’ education system as a model for the region.

PakTurk makes the headlines in The New York Times

The value and contribution of the PakTurk Schools to Pakistan was appreciated by the renowned US daily for the schools’ setting an example for the education in region.

November 22, 2008

The purpose-built campus of the PakTurk Boys College in Chak Shehzad, Islamabad was officially inaugurated by the Prime Minister of Pakistan Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani and Deputy Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly Nevzat Pakdil.

2009

Pre-school and primary school classes started in Khayaban-e Amin, Lahore.

2010

PakTurk Girls College in Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Karachi moved to its new building.

PM Gilani inaugurated the PakTurk School building

Prime Minister of Pakistan Gilani and Deputy Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly Pakdil inaugurated a PakTurk branch in Islamabad, completed in 2008.

October 12, 2010

During his official visit to Pakistan, Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan requested the Governor Sindh to allot a school plot in Karachi for the PakTurk Schools.

2011

PakTurk Girls College in Islamabad moved its new purpose-built campus in Sector H-8/1.

2012

PakTurk Boys College in Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Karachi opened its doors for education.

PM Erdoğan demanded a school plot

During his official visit to Pakistan, Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan demanded from the Governor Sindh a school plot for the PakTurk Schools in Karachi.

April 2012

A protocol was signed between the PTICEF and the Government of the Punjab for the founding of the International Allama Iqbal University.

2013

Constructed in Lahore, PakTurk Asifa Irfan Girls College opened its doors for education.

Pre-school classes started in PakTurk Raiwind Road Campus, Lahore.

The second PakTurk primary school opened its doors for education in Khayaban-e Amin, Lahore.

Pre-school and the boys wing of the PakTurk School in Gulshan-e-Jauhar in Karachi moved to their new building.

A PakTurk pre-school and primary school opened in Jamshoro, Sindh.

Protocol for the International Allama Iqbal University

PakTurk Schools elevated their leap of education with a university project.


March 15, 2013


The ground-breaking ceremony of the PakTurk Multan Boys College was held with the participation of the Punjab provincial government officials and the AKP deputies from Turkey.

February 14, 2013

Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly Cemil Çiçek and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan Faisal Karim Kundi attended the PakTurk Schools’ Inter-School Maths Olympiad (ISMO) award ceremony in Islamabad as guests of honour.

Speakers of National Assemblies at ISMO gala

Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan Faisal Karim Kundi and Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly Cemil Çiçek attended the ISMO award ceremony as guests of honour.

2014

A PakTurk pre-school and primary school opened in F-10/3, Islamabad.

PakTurk Quetta Jinnah Town Campus opened its doors for pre-school and primary school education.

PakTurk Boys College in Gulistan-e Jauhar, Karachi opened its doors for education.

Education drive never ceased

The interest and love of the people of Pakistan for the PakTurk Schools grew into charitable financial support. Supported by philanthropic businesspeople, new hubs of education were opened.

February 12, 2014

During the Turkey-Pakistan-Afghanistan Tripartite Security Summit, Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif lauded the PakTurk Schools: “They do an excellent job. I visited the school in Lahore and found its standards very high. The schools strengthen our relationship.”

Appreciation from the PM of Pakistan

Before the pressures applied by the AKP government on the Turkish educational institutions abroad, Prime Minister of Pakistan lauded the PakTurk Schools with appreciative remarks.

April 2014

The Turkish government changed its attitude towards the Turkish schools abroad after the Turkish police’s expansive anti-corruption operations against four cabinet ministers. This mood swing had its repercussions in Pakistan.

Due to pressures, first the construction of the PakTurk Multan Boys College was stopped. The protocols signed for the International Allama Iqbal University and the plot allotment for a school in Rawalpindi were unilaterally cancelled.

When caught red-handed in corruption…

During the police operations on December 17, 2013, the corruption of four AKP cabinet ministers was revealed. The AKP government declared everyone who invited the ministers for accountability as ‘public enemy’ and oppressed.

2015

PakTurk primary schools opened in Hyderabad and Rawalpindi.

PakTurk Schools in Bosan Road, Multan moved to its new building.

Built in Dream Gardens, Lahore, PakTurk pre-school and primary school opened its doors for education.

A school in ‘Dream Gardens’

Two leading construction companies of Lahore also built a school in the expansive housing society they named as ‘Dream Gardens’, situated at a prime location of the city. The companies handed the operation of the school to PakTurk.

January 7, 2016

Federal Minister for Education Muhammad Baligh-ur-Rehman attended the PakTurk Inter-School Mathematics Olympiad (ISMO) award ceremony as the Chief Guest.

April 2016

Pakistan Ministry of Interior Affairs left the visa extension applications of the PakTurk Schools’ Turkish staff unanswered.

Federal Minister for Education as the Chief Guest

Federal Minister for Education Muhammad Baligh-ur-Rehman (with cap attended the PakTurk Inter-School Mathematics Olympiad (ISMO) award ceremony as the Chief Guest.

May 2016

Launching pestering visits to PakTurk Schools in Islamabad, Capital Development Authority (CDA) threatened penalties and demanded exclusive structural adjustments not demanded from other private schools.

July 2016

In the wake of the July 15 coup attempt, the Turkish Embassy in Islamabad rejected the official applications made by the PakTurk Schools’ Turkish staff.

Illegal stance from the Turkish Embassy

In line with the oppressive directives of the AKP government, Turkish Embassy in Islamabad unwarrantedly suspended the official applications made by the Turkish staff of the PakTurk educational institutions.

July 22, 2016

Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey to Pakistan Sadık Babür Girgin held a press conference, targeted the PakTurk Schools with the allegation of their links to the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey and demanded the closure of the PakTurk Schools by the Government of Pakistan.

July 2016

Pakistani opposition leader Imran Khan rejected the allegations and reacted by posting on his Twitter account, “What connection can the PakTurk Schools have with a coup attempt 5.000 km away?”

Imran Khan reacted to the allegations

Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf leader Imran Khan found linking PakTurk Schools with terrorism as illogical and rejected this allegation.

August 2, 2016

During his official visit to Islamabad, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu claimed PakTurk Schools were ‘linked to terrorism’. He also held talks to have the schools transferred to the Maarif Foundation, a Turkish government-funded organization.

August 10, 2016

PakTurk parents-teachers associations across Pakistan held press conferences and rejected the allegations made by the Turkish FM Çavuşoğlu. PakTurk Schools opened their doors to the national and international media outlets and school administrators gave interviews.

Turkish FM on tour for ‘school closure’

Turkish FM Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu (left) prioritized demanding the forced closure of the PakTurk Schools. Travelling all the way to Pakistan, he exerted exclusive effort.

August 25, 2016

Having demanded the resignation of 4 Turkish administrators of the PakTurk Schools, the Government of the Punjab appointed 4 Pakistani trustees to the administration of the schools.

August 26, 2016

Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif made an official visit to Turkey as a special guest of Turkish PM Erdoğan and attended the inauguration of the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge.

Chief Minister Punjab in Turkey

CM Punjab Shehbaz Sharif (right) visited Istanbul and attended the inauguration of an intercontinental bridge. Turkish government officials used every opportunity to apply pressure for the forced transference of the PakTurk Schools.

November 7, 2016

Advisor to President Erdoğan, İlnur Çevik attended official meetings in Pakistan. On his return to Turkey, he penned a column in daily Yeni Birlik and remarked “for having not taken radical steps about the PakTurk Schools, the President will admonish and pull the Pakistani officials’ ears next week.”

November 15, 2016

Through an official letter sent from the Ministry of Interior Affairs, Government of Pakistan ordered 108 PakTurk administrators and teachers to leave Pakistan with their families in within 3 days.

An eccentric article from Erdoğan’s advisor

Advisor to President Erdoğan, İlnur Çevik visited Pakistan, lobbied for the forced closure of the PakTurk Schools and penned an eccentric article in a Turkish daily on his return.

November 16, 2016

Erdoğan arrived in Islamabad. Following the protocol signed between the Turkiye Maarif Foundation and the Federal Ministry of Education, the Maarif Foundation office in Islamabad was swiftly opened.

November 16, 2016

After the public reaction and in line with humanitarian concerns, Pakistan Ministry of Interior Affairs officials verbally extended the deadline for the PakTurk Turkish staff to leave Pakistan until November 30, 2016.

Erdogan made a personal visit to Pakistan

After his foreign minister and advisor, President Erdoğan himself visited Pakistan. The forced transference of the PakTurk Schools to Turkiye Maarif Foundation topped his agenda.

November 24, 2016

UNHCR Pakistan issued asylee certificates to Turkish educationists.

November 29, 2016

Lahore High Court issued a stay order against the deportation of the PakTurk teachers. Sindh High Court and Peshawar High Court made similar stay-order decisions.

UNHCR sides with the Turkish educationists

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees issued asylee certificates to PakTurk teachers who were subjected to unfair pressure by the Turkish government.

February 2017

As revealed, Government of Pakistan followed the suggestion made by the Turkish government and planned to make an ‘overnight’ amendment in the Companies Ordinance and seize the PakTurk Schools. When the plan was revealed in the media, it was immediately shelved.

March 2, 2017

Turkish Chief of Military Staff and Minister for National Defence Hulusi Akar visited Islamabad and held meetings with local officials for the transference of the PakTurk Schools to the Maarif Foundation.

After Erdoğan, Akar visited Pakistan

When the Turkish government could not get results as fast as it wished from Pakistan, it increased the frequency of visits. After Erdoğan, Minister of National Defence Hulusi Akar visited Pakistan.

July 9, 2017

A 22-member task force deployed by the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MIT) arrived in Islamabad to abduct PakTurk teachers. Pakistan Ministry of Interior Affairs deported the Turkish intelligence operatives.

September 2017

Under the agreement between the intelligence agencies of Turkey and Pakistan, the Turkish teachers’ residences were closely monitored.

Turkish National Intelligence shadowed Turkish teachers

When Pakistan was late in taking steps about the PakTurk Schools, Turkish government activated the ‘intelligence’ and dispatched a task force to Pakistan to abduct teachers.

September 27, 2017

An operation team comprised of both countries’ intelligence operatives abducted Turkish educationist couple Mesut and Meral Kaçmaz with their two daughters by blindfolding and hooding them. The family was illegally removed from Pakistan to Turkey under torture, days later.

Having also abducted neighbour Fatih Avcu for protesting the incident, the operatives released him shortly later, saying ‘his name was not on the list’.

Turkish Intelligence (MIT) abducted educationist family from Pakistan

The state of the Republic of Turkey has given a chase to people who dedicated their lives to education. Flying to Pakistan on a private aircraft, the Turkish National Intelligence operatives abducted the Kaçmaz family and whisked them to Turkey under duress and torture.

September 28, 2017

Educationist Murat Ervan and his wife made a narrow escape from abduction in Islamabad and abandoned their home.

October 4, 2017

School principal Zekeriya Özşahin was forcefully taken from his home with the allegation he had been the last person Ervan had contacted. He was subjected to torture for 4 hours to give information.

They did not stop with the Kaçmaz family

While the Pakistani public opinion made calls to have the Kaçmaz family found, the Turkish intelligence operatives hounded other Turkish teachers and their families in Pakistan.

October 18, 2017

Human Rights Watch (HRW) announced to the worldwide public opinion that Turkish teachers in Pakistan are at risk.

May 25, 2018

United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) passed verdict to immediately release Mesut and Meral Kaçmaz, who were abducted from Pakistan and jailed for months in Turkey. UNHRC also demanded the two countries to compensate the abductees and bring the perpetrators to justice.

A critical decision by the UN

United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) passed verdict to immediately release Mesut and Meral Kaçmaz, who were abducted from Pakistan and jailed for months in Turkey, and demanded to bring the perpetrators to justice.

December 17, 2018

Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan Saqib Nisar went to Turkey on invitation of the Turkish Embassy Islamabad to attend the Shab-e-Aroos commemoration ceremony of Rumi’s death anniversary. During the visit, he met Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court of Turkey Zühtü Arslan and President Erdoğan.

December 28, 2018

Supreme Court of Pakistan gave a summary verdict about the transference of the PakTurk Schools to the Turkiye Maarif Foundation on grounds of their ‘links to a terrorist organization’. PakTurk lawyers were not even given the right to defend the case.

Chief Justice SCP in Turkey

Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar visited Turkey in December 2018. 10 days after this visit, the Supreme Court of Pakistan gave a summary verdict about the PakTurk Schools on their ‘links to terrorism’.

December 29, 2018

Turkiye Maarif Foundation took over the PakTurk Schools, which were slandered with baseless terror charges’ without even changing the name of the institutions. This showed the slander was simply an excuse to usurp the schools.

When this foundation usurped the PakTurk Schools, the school network had 28 branches in 10 cities with 12,000 students and over 11,000 graduates.

They usurped PakTurk with its name

Maarif Foundation used the slander of terrorism to usurp a brand built by the peoples of Turkey and Pakistan for quarter of a century. The way the foundation did not even change the name of the schools showed the ‘terrorism’ charge was only a slander and an excuse.

January 1, 2019

All Turkish teachers and their families, who were affiliated with the PakTurk Schools until 2016, left Pakistan because of excessive security risks.

February 13, 2019


During his official visit to Pakistan after the seizure of the PakTurk Schools, President Erdoğan expressed his special thanks to the Pakistani authorities.

‘Do not send our teachers away’

People of Pakistan stood for the Turkish educationists whom they supported for 25 years. They held peaceful protests against the teachers’ forceful expulsion from the country.

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