LAHORE/HYDERABAD/KARACHI/PESHAWAR: Students of medicine, including MDCAT aspirants, staged protests on Sunday across multiple cities, alleging "irregularities" and unfairness at the hands of the country's medical practitioners' regulatory authority, as well as slamming its policies.
The protests intensified and anger grew when Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood said his ministry had "nothing to do" with either Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) or the MDCAT.
Hundreds of students took to the streets in Peshawar, Hyderabad, and Karachi, among other cities, with those in Lahore staging a sit-in outside the Punjab governor house, demanding Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar meet them.
"These people are not eligible to run PMC," said one student on Twitter.
"Save the future of Medical students / future doctors we request you," they added, while another said the MDCAT 2020 transparency was "also challenged as some students were not given grace marks while others were".
On the other hand, in Hyderabad, those who appeared for MDCAT accused the Pakistan Medical Council (PMC) — which organises the test — of issuing controversial results.
The protesting students chanted slogans at Hyderabad Press Club (HPC) against the alleged discrepancies in MDCAT 2020 conducted by the PMC a few days ago. They also called upon the federal and provincial governments to take notice of the matter.
The students claimed that the MDCAT had been taken out of the course, due to which Sindh-based students were declared "fail".
Thousands of students would have no option but to extend the protest movement if their demand to reconduct the test was not met, they warned.
Some students also demanded the PMC check their exam papers in front of them and provide them with an answer key to ensure the transparency.
In Peshawar, too, a group of students gathered to protest against the PMC and the alleged discrepancies that they claim would affect their future.
Tensions among the upset students flared up further when Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood distanced his ministry from the initiatives after receiving "a lot of calls and mail on this issue".
"Let me clarify as clearly as possible. PMC or MDCAT etc are all initiatives of the Ministry of Health," Mahmood said on Twitter.
"I think they are good initiatives but Ministry of Education has nothing to do with either."
"What a great riyasat-e-madina we live in @ImranKhanPTI where education minister is not responsible for education related issues," one of the protesters wrote on Twitter in response.
"I still wonder why such [an] unexperienced commission is imposed on medical students," said another.
"They did everything to ruin the future of medical students."
Separately, the Twitter account 'Protest Against PMC' shared information on how to get exam sheets rechecked.
"Let your friends know too. [...] It is free of cost," they wrote.
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