Ex-vice president of Pak-Turk Schools, family ‘abducted’

LAHORE: A Turkish national and former vice president of the Pak-Turk Schools was reportedly abducted along with his wife and two daughters from their residence in Wapda Town early on Wednesday.

According to the application filed with the Sattokatla police station, around 20 people, including some women, arrived at 461, E2 Block, Wapda Town, Lahore — the residence of Mesut Kacmaz and his family — early in the morning. Mr Kacmaz had been staying there for the last five years or so, with his wife Meral and two daughters — students of O and A levels.

One of Mr Kacmaz’s neighbours, Fatih Avci, another Turkish national and schoolteacher, filed the application with the police who are yet to register an FIR. According to Mr Acvi, he too had been abducted but was released a few hours later.

He told the police that Mr Kacmaz’s family had been staying in Pakistan on an asylum certificate of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) for a year after the Pakistani authorities directed the Turkish staff of the Pak-Turk Schools to leave the country in November last year.

He said that he had seen “trained intruders” in plain clothes taking Mr Kacmaz, his wife and children into custody. They (the abductors) had first blindfolded and handcuffed Mr Kacmaz and his family even as they resisted, Mr Acvi said, adding that he had tried to step in but was meted out the same treatment.

The abductors then hauled him and Mr Kacmaz’s family in their vehicles and took them somewhere, he added. However, they released him after a few hours, Mr Acvi said. He told the police that he was unaware of Mr Kacmaz’s family whereabouts.

Turkish Ambassador to Pakistan Sadik Babur Girgin has said that the Pak-Turk Schools were linked to Fatehullah Gulen, a US-based cleric, who is being accused of plotting the attempted July coup in Turkey.

Lahore Operations DIG Dr Haider Ashraf said that the police were trying to trace the whereabouts of the kidnapped family.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has called for the immediate release of Mr Kacmaz’s family.

In a press release issued following the abduction, the HRCP stated the family had been residing in Pakistan for a year, on UNHCR asylum seeker certificate, allowing them to stay in Pakistan till November 2017.

It said the family had been roughed up, hooded, handcuffed and taken away in a wagon to a well-furnished house where several interrogators were also present.

A Turkish neighbour who had protested the maltreatment was also picked up but was later released, the press release said.