Supreme Court of Pakistan on Friday ordered the government to declare the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) a terror group and ban its affiliated schools in the country.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016 in Turkey, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
Ankara accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.
A bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, also ordered to hand over FETO’s “all the movable and immovable assets”, schools, colleges, education centers and other similar entities to Turkiye Maarif Foundation.
Turkey established the Maarif Foundation in 2016 to take over the administration of overseas schools linked to FETO. The foundation also establishes schools and education centers abroad.
On Dec. 13, a local lawyer Sohail Sajid had filed a constitutional petition in the Supreme Court and requested to declare the group a terrorist outfit in the country.
The court directed the Interior Ministry to declare FETO-linked Pak-Turk International Cag Education Foundation (PTICEF) a “proscribed organization” and include its name in the list of terrorist outfit.
The court also directed the country’s financial institutions to immediately freeze the bank accounts of FETO-linked foundation and give custody of the such assets to Turkiye Maarif Foundation.
"Direction is issued to the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) to declare the Section 42 Company created by PTICEF as defunct on account of its illegal and unauthorized initial registration and its affiliation with a terrorists organization and remove its name from the registers of SECP," the court ruled.
The Supreme Court’s verdict also directed police and other law enforcement agencies to extend full support to Turkiye Maarif Foundation in taking control of the education institutions.
Currently 28 schools are running under the FETO-linked organization in Pakistan.
"Today is historic day as our country's top country has declared FETO as a terror outfit, which staged the defeated coup in our brotherly country Turkey in July 2016," Sohail Sajid, the petitioner, told Anadolu Agency.
“Pakistan is the only country where the FETO has been declared as a terrorist organization and now all schools and assets linked to the group will be hand over to the Turkish government,” he added.
The court ruling will further strengthen ties between Pakistan and Turkey, Sajid added.