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The Turkish connection

by Pakistan Today, Editorial Board on . Posted in Columns

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Surely nobody at the joint session really believed Mr. Erdogan’s warning about the threat the so called Gulen Network presents Pakistan. No doubt the Turkish president really believes the Network – which ran schools here till just before his visit – is just as dangerous for Pakistan as al Qaeda, etc., but that he believes that lawmakers of a country at war with some of these outfits would buy it raises a few questions. Not the least about the country itself. Surely somebody in the high chain of command took it very seriously; enough to shut down those schools and deport the staff.
 
There is a deeper irony in this tragedy. It’s not just that Pakistan faces an acute education deficit and could do with all the help, and a lot, lot more, in that area. It’s also that the government really faces a huge challenge concerning so called educational institutes that spread hatred, violence and even terrorism. And on the front – the madrassas – the government has been paralyzed. And no manner of terrorism or tragedy has made it budge and pay attention to this crucial point of the National Action Plan.
 
None of that, in any way, takes anything away from Mr. Erdogan’s achievements in a long and largely impressive political career. His economic turnaround is well marketed, but few outside Turkey know he also revolutionized the country’s judiciary, turning it from a corrupt, inefficient institution like ours to the embodiment of a just, fast and efficient judiciary. And even though of late his foreign policy blunders have helped bring death and destruction to the Middle East, and he has become increasingly paranoid and authoritarian, there is still much our rulers can learn from him. And given the proximity, and the obviously close Turkish connection, there is hope that some of him will rub off onto them.