METU Introduction

We are the Pakistani Alumni of METU

Turkey had truly been a turning point in our lives. Leaving behind all inhibitions in Pakistan, we were in a free environment that allowed us to choose our career paths and our thought processes. We were also able to look back upon Pakistan with a different set of eyes.

Those carefree days allowed us to mold our lives independent of our families and the Pakistani ways. We discovered a new set of values, which changed us forever. And we forged friendships that were lasting. These new friends were like a new family indeed.

For those of us who belong to the 1960s and 1970s, we experienced a great change in Turkey as well as in Pakistan. The events of 1971 were indeed traumatic. METU went through a transformation with the army action on the METU dorms in March 1971. The freedom that had been seen on campus prior to that date was gone. Gone were the boycotts and the leftist groups. However, the university maintained its academic record and continued to be the prime technical university in the region.

For us Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, 1971 had a further difficult meaning. It brought about independence of Bangladesh after a bloody war in East Pakistan in December 1971 leaving many scars on our young minds. We were polarized without truly understanding where our nations were headed. After these decades, we realize that the ex-METU students from Pakistan and Bangladesh are still great friends and have so much to share between us. We still think as one and will always share that same background.

The other interesting aspect is Turkey itself. Never before in our lives had we realized or understood the love which the Turks held for Pakistanis. It was only upon arrival in Ankara that we came to know that Pakistan and Turkey were NOT friends. We were in fact brothers and sisters (kardeşler). We understood its meaning because the Turks practiced it. We fell in love with the place and its people.

The Pak Turk Friendship Association (sponsored by the Türkiye İş Bankası) reminded us annually of this important relationship. It was on these occasions that we came to know of the historical background of this love which dates back to the First World War. Over 30,000 Muslim troops from united India went to Turkey to fight alongside the Turks against the Allies. Besides, the Muslims of united India gave millions of dollars in cash and gold to the Turks to fight against the Allied forces. The Turks never forgot this love demonstrated by the Muslims of the sub-continent through personal and material sacrifice. In their time of need, the Muslims of united India were the only ones who stood by them. And the successor state of those Muslims of India is Pakistan of today. Every Turk is taught this lesson in his school history books. Unfortunately, we are not taught about this noble deed in our schools in Pakistan.

This website is meant to be a tool that allows ex-students of METU (Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin) to establish a permanent contact on a one to one basis, in addition to the group chats and emails which continue to be the daily point of contact.

Collecting data for this website has been a mammoth task. It would not have been possible without the tremendous support from so many people. We have tried to be as meticulous as possible to avoid mistakes. Despite this, it is very likely that there are many lapses both in terms of people we have missed out as well as errors in the data. We would like to apologize in advance for these mistakes.

This website lists over 600 Pakistanis / Bangladeshis who were at METU at some point in their lives. Of these, 58 are known to have passed away from this world.

Glancing through the details of this group, it is clear that a vast majority have done extremely well in life, despite years of frolicking and fun along with the tough curriculum at METU. Many have risen to topmost positions in their own organizations, and some have left a mark on international business. This is indeed a source of comfort and pride for all of us.

An interesting point of note is that some of us never completed our degrees at METU. After staying for a short time, they transferred to other institutions in different countries for graduation. Despite this, we all still feel a strong bond with METU and Turkey. It was METU that molded us in many ways.

The population of METU Pakistanis has declined over the years. During the late 1960s and 1970s, we were over 100 students at METU at any point in time. With scholarships being provided by the Government of Turkey, the number has been rising again in recent years. We need to work towards creating a better awareness amongst Pakistanis that METU still is one of the best institutions around for technical education. It is financially within the reach of a good section of our population, and the cultural value and brotherly feelings are immense.

Lastly, we would like to express our hope that this website will go a long way in reinforcing our mutual bonds between the ex-students of METU.