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Ministry to challenge court decision to restore sacked PMDC employees

Ministry to challenge court decision to restore sacked PMDC employees

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) is considering challenging a Balochistan High Court (BHC) decision restoring sacked employees of the dissolved Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC).

NHS Joint Secretary Saeedullah Khan Niazi told Dawn that the ministry has not received any court order “but we are hearing from the media that the court has restored all the PMDC employees”. He added that the ministry would challenge this decision in the higher court.

The PMDC was dissolved by the Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) Ordinance promulgated by President Dr Arif Alvi on Oct 19. Its building was sealed the next day and the NHS ministry announced that the services of all 220 employees were terminated.

The ordinance also paved the way for the establishment of the PMC, a new organisation with three components – the Medical and Dental Council, National Medical and Dental Academic Board and National Medical Authority.

Court order not received yet, will proceed with appeal when it does, joint secretary says

The former PMDC employees filed a petition against their termination in the BHC. A decision bench comprising Chief Justice Jamal Mandokhail and Justice Abdullah Baloch last week suspended section 49 of the ordinance, under which the employees were sacked, and directed for them to be paid their salaries.

Asked if the employees would be allowed to resume their duties, Mr Niazi, who was attending a parliamentary committee at Parliament House, said that while the court had restored the staffers the council had been dissolved, and they could not resume their duties when there was no PMDC.

He added that the ministry would seek a legal remedy for the suspension of section 49 of the PMC Ordinance.

“We have not received the written direction of the court. As soon as we get the direction we will file a case in the higher court,” Mr Niazi said.

Since the court order came from a division bench of the high court, it can only be appealed in the Supreme Court.

Employees who did not want to be named said they were also awaiting written court order, and they would enter the PMC building once they have the court order.

Dozens of medical graduates protested outside the PMC building on Tuesday, saying they cannot obtain no-objection certificates (NOC) to begin house jobs in hospitals.

One of the protesters, who asked not to be named, said most students could not begin their house jobs because they could not get NOCs.

“The PMC has issued some of the letters, but even those have been rejected by hospitals because they lack security features and could be prepared by anyone,” he said.

Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2019

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