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January 11, 2019

PMA rejects ordinance allowing nomination of PMDC members

National

January 11, 2019

KARACHI: Instead of holding elections to run the Pakistan Medical Dental Council (PMDC) through an elected body, the President of Pakistan has promulgated an Ordinance allowing the prime minister, provincial chief ministers, College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan (CPSP) and the armed forces to ‘nominate the 17 members of the PMDC’, which is entirely undemocratic, unconstitutional and not acceptable to the medical fraternity including the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA), the PMA Secretary General Dr. Qaiser Sajjad told a news conference.

Dr. Qaiser said the Federal Minister for National Health Services Aamer Mahmood Kiani had announced to hold elections of the PMDC members during his meeting with a PMA delegation in November last year but instead, a presidential ordinance has been promulgated to nominate the members. The Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC), which regulates health bodies, medical educational institutions was being run on ad-hoc basis for the last 11 months after the Supreme Court of Pakistan dissolved the former council and replaced it with a nine-member council headed by a former SC judge. Accompanied by PMA President Dr. Ikram Tunio, PMA Karachi President Dr. Khalil Mukaddam, Treasurer Dr. Qazi Wasiq, Dr. Abdul Ghafoor Shoro, Dr. Jamaluddin Sheikh, ex-member PMDC from Sindh and Dr. Pir Manzoor Ali, PMA Secretary General said they are deeply “saddened and concerned” over a nominated PMDC, which is against the principles of democracy and violates laws and asked the government to immediately repeal the ordinance.

Sajjad said “we request the government to immediately repeal this ordinance, hold immediate elections of the PMDC and run it as an independent regulatory body.” Sajjad said the PMA has summoned its Central Council meeting in Islamabad next week to discuss the issue and warned that the doctors would be forced to make the functioning of the government immensely difficult. The “PMDC is a doctors’ body and all its expenses are borne by them. It is a regulatory body to keep an eye on the performance of doctors, medical education and the doctors’ fraternity want it to be elected and function in a democratic manner,” he said and added some people with vested interests could be behind this undemocratic move to gain monetary benefits by having people of their choice in the PMDC.

The former PMDC member from Sindh Dr. Jamaluddin Sheikh alleged that the judges illegally raised the fees of private medical colleges from Rs. 640,000 to 950,000, saying an elected PMDC is the biggest hurdle in raising the fees of the private medical colleges, giving admissions against the merit and depriving the meritorious students of medical education due to weak financial status. Responding to the queries of journalists, the PMA office-bearers said they were not consulted before promulgation of the Presidential ordinance and they would not accept the 'selected' panel. They also claimed that this controversial step would undermine the medical education in Pakistan and create distrust over training of our doctors in the outside world.

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