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March 13, 2019

Ex-head among front-runners for top PMDC post

Islamabad

March 13, 2019

Islamabad : The new top decision-making body of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) will elect its head and his deputy in its maiden meeting here today (Wednesday) with former Council president from Balochistan Dr Shabir Ahmed Lehri being among three front-runners for the top position.

The meeting is taking place following the notification of its all 17 members by the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination, which oversees the PMDC, the regulator for medical and dental education and practice in the country.

The notification was delayed due to the failure of the Sindh and Balochistan governments to name own members for the Council.

The ministry had notified 12 civil society members and representatives of the provincial and federal governments from the public and private educational institutions, president of the College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan, and surgeon general of the Armed Forces Medical Service on February 28 after being formally informed about them.

However, the Council didn't have the representatives of Balochistan and Sindh due to the two provincial governments' failure to name them.

On March 11, the ministry notified the nominees of Balochistan and Sindh after getting the respective letters from Quetta and Karachi and thus, completing the Council’s formation for three years term.

Among the members are civil society members Dr Tariq Iqbal Bhutta, Professor Shoaib Hassan Shah and Muhammad Ali Raza, Balochistan's Prof Shabir Ahmed Lehri and Prof Nadeem Samad, Sindh's Prof Sehla Baqi and Prof Kartar Dawani, Punjab's Prof Amer Zaman Khan and Prof Khalid Usman, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Prof Amer Bilal and Prof Muslim Khan, Prof Zafarullah Chaudhry of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Pakistan, Major-General Professor Saleem Ahmed Khan of the Armed Forces Medical Service, and representatives of private medical colleges Prof Saeed Sadiq Hamid and Dr Sulman Jaffar.

Prof Mirza Khan Tareen of Balochistan will act as the Council members on rotation basis for first one and a half years.

They are to elect the Council president and vice-president from among themselves during the Wednesday meeting slated to take place the PMDC headquarters here.

Insiders say a close contest is expected for the top Council positions with former PMDC president Prof Shabir Ahmed Lehri from Balochistan, Prof Amer Zaman Khan from Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Prof Amer Bilal emerging as the main contenders.

On January 5, President Dr Arif Alvi had promulgated the PMDC Ordinance, 2019, leading to the formation of the 17-member Council.

The ordinance empowers the Council to approve strategic plans and financial resource development plans of PMDC; develop accreditation standards for medical and dental educational programmes and assessment of international graduates for registration in Pakistan; assess and recognise medical and dental institutions; examine cases for the recognition of new medical and dental specialties, and advise federal and provincial governments on requests for grant of charter to award medical and dental degrees.

Under the law, the government is to get the Parliament’s consent to the ordinance within four months of its promulgation and if it fails to do so, then an extension of another four months will be required through the passage of a resolution by the National Assembly.

Before the issuance of the PMDC, 2019, an ad-hoc council formed by former Supreme Court chief justice Saqib Nisar and headed by former apex court judge Shakirullah Jan had managed the affairs of the regulator for a year.

As there is a high likelihood of a major reshuffle in the PMDC after the election of the president, hopefuls are seen lobby hard to get their cases struck a chord with those who matter in the current political dispensation and at the health services ministry.

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