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Turkey asks Pakistan to shut down Gulen-run schools

Erdogan and the Turkish authorities blame the cleric and his followers for orchestrating last month's failed military coup, in which nearly 300 people were killed

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Turkish school. Representational Image Wikimedia commos.
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On Tuesday reiterated visiting Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu his country’s request that  “Gulen-run” schools operating in Pakistan should be closed down.

Gulen-run schools. Representational Image Wikimedia Commons.
Gulen-run schools. Representational Image Wikimedia Commons.

The request by Turkey is part of an international campaign by President Tayyip Erdogan against US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen and his Islamic transnational religious and social movement.

Erdogan and the Turkish authorities blame the cleric and his followers for orchestrating last month’s failed military coup, in which nearly 300 people were killed.

Addressing a joint press conference here after his meeting with Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz, Cavusoglu said Turkey had asked Pakistan to close down these schools much before the attempted coup.

“The request was made when President Mamnoon Hussain visited Turkey….”

The Gulen-run schools are functional in many countries, he said.

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Sartaj Aziz stressed that Pakistan and Turkey enjoy close brotherly relations. “We are on the same page when it comes to tackling terrorism.”

Sartaj Aziz said the Turkish people had foiled the attempts by a certain section of the Turkish army to stage a coup and overthrow the democratic government of Erdogan and Prime Minister Binali Yildrim.

The Turkish Foreign Minister arrived in the capital on Monday on a two-day official visit for talks with Pakistani authorities on bilateral relations, as well as the regional security situation.

When asked about the Turkish demand for action against Gulen-run institutions, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakria had said Islamabad was in contact with Ankara on the issue.

“Pakistan has very close and brotherly ties with Turkey. We are aware of the Turkish concerns. Authorities in both the countries are in touch with each other to address Turkish concerns while also remaining cognisant of the importance of avoiding disruption in the academic activities of a sizeable number of students,” Zakria added.

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“In essence, in keeping with the cordial relations between the two countries, we are maintaining a close contact with Turkey to address the issue in a manner that fully addresses Turkey’s concerns as also of the students,” he said. (IANS)

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American Friends of Balochistan welcomes Trump’s Tough stand on Pak

The American Friends of Balochistan (AFB) issued a statement Monday welcoming Donald Trump's stand on US-Pakistan relations, calling it a vindication of its own stand.

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American Friends of Balochistan welcomes Trump's Tough stand on Pak
American Friends of Balochistan welcomes Trump's Tough stand on Pak. wikimedia commons

Washington, D.C.– The American Friends of Balochistan (AFB) Executive Committee issued a statement Monday welcoming the President’s stand on US-Pakistan relations, calling it a vindication of its own stand.

The AFB said President Donald J. Trump has called out Pakistan’s constant bluffs with the US and pointed out a big chunk of American assistance was used against people of Balochistan in a secret, dirty war instead of the Taliban.

Khwaja Wali Kirani in Balochistan. Wikimedia Commons

“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!,” President Trump first tweet of 2018 reads.

The tweet was loved by nearly quarter-million Americans and retweeted 83,000 times in less than 24 hours.

The AFB executive committee said the US remains Pakistan’s top foreign aid donor, in addition to the money paid in expectation of cooperation in the Global War on Terror. Yet, for many years now, serving officers in the US Armed Forces have repeatedly spoken out about Pakistan’s perfidy in Afghanistan, which has cost the US lives, money and strategic credibility in the world’s eyes. Pakistan also remains a training ground for terrorism and a prime proliferator of nuclear weapons technology.

No country’s development and democracy have suffered more from Pakistan’s interference via state-sponsored terrorism than Afghanistan. US efforts to help the Afghans rebuild their nation are constantly sabotaged by reeling instability. India is another well-known target.

The AFB said Balochistan is a region rich in natural gas. It that has seen several bloody cycles of insurgency ever since Pakistan forcibly annexed the autonomous Baloch state of Kalat in 1948 in violation of a Standstill Agreement. A portion of historical Balochistan also sits on the other side of Pakistan’s border with Iran. Further, it borders Afghanistan to the north-west. Pakistan’s brutal record in this strategically located province that forms the northern lip of the key Straits of Hormuz has spiked in recent years.

“People of Balochistan tried their very best to work with Pakistan’s false promises of integration after forceful accession, but instead gave genocide to Balochs,” said the statement.

The AFB monitors the situation in Balochistan closely and is in touch with freedom and democracy activists on the ground. The AFB reiterated their call to the Pakistani government to cease violating the physical security of Baloch people, their freedom of expression, and end the policy of economic exploitation and genocidal violence.

A slow-motion genocide in Balochistan has claimed the lives of 35,000 Baloch people, 6,000 of whom were buried in mass graves while 21,000 are Victims of Enforced Disappearances, according to the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons. “The enforced disappearances situation in Balochistan is no different than what it used to be in Chile and Argentine in the 1970s and 1980s,” the AFB executive committee noted.

The AFB executive committee chimed in with similar sentiments expressed by policy experts in academe, veteran politicians, diplomats, intelligence chiefs, and human rights activists. Among them were former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, leading South Asia expert and former Pakistani ambassador Hussain Haqqani, several Baloch freedom and human rights activists cutting across party lines, former head of Afghanistan’s Directorate of Security Amrullah Saleh, and even normally fierce critics of President Trump’s administration such as Prof. Christine Fair, Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professor Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service.

The AFB executive committee consists of Jane Eastwood Weisner, Najeeb Khan, Krishna Gudipati, Soumya Chowdhury and Habiba Ashna. The organization was founded by veteran Baloch journalist Ahmar Mustikhan, who is the president.

Hope and doubt have been expressed on whether the US president’s tweet and words will translate into actionable legislation. Mustikhan published a survey of some of these thoughts in an article titled “Wave of joy sweeps across Afghanistan, Balochistan & India over Trump’s first tweet of 2018”.