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PAMI rejects PMDC’s decision to cancel registrations of 15 colleges

PAMI rejects PMDC’s decision to cancel registrations of 15 colleges

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Association of Private Medical and Dental Institutions (PAMI) on Saturday criticised the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC)’s decision to cancel the registrations of around 15 colleges, saying it would go to court.

PAMI General Secretary Khaqan Waheed Khawaja said that it had been decided that if the government fails to resolve the issue amicably private medical and dental colleges would close across the country after Eid.

At an online meeting of association members from all over the country, chaired by PAMI President Dr Syed Tariq Sohail, they decided that if private colleges that produce 60pc of doctors do not stop being treated unfairly, there would be no choice but to close these institutions.

The meeting also criticised the centralised admissions policy.

Association says private colleges will close after Eid if government does not resolve issue

The PMDC was dissolved by a presidential ordinance on Oct 19, 2019, and replaced with the Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC).

The PMC then registered around 15 colleges and made a number of decisions.

However, on Feb 11 this year, the Islamabad High Court declared the ordinance “null and void” and restored the PMDC.

The Ministry of National Health Services’ (NHS) attempt to have the PMDC registrar dismissed by the Supreme Court - on the grounds that the ordinance under which the registrar was appointed was not passed by parliament - resulted in the registrar being removed and the SC ordering the reconstitution of the PMDC on April 17 with retired Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan as its president and directions to appoint a new registrar in consultation with other council members.

In addition to Mr Khan, Attorney General Khalid Jawed Khan or his nominee, the NHS secretary, surgeon general of the armed forces, vice chancellors of the National University of Medical Sciences, the University of Health Sciences in Lahore, Jinnah Sindh Medical University in Karachi, Khyber Medical University in Peshawar, Bolan University of Medical and Health Sciences in Quetta, Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Medical University in Islamabad, and the principal of De’Montmorency College of Dentistry in Lahore, were nominated as members of the ad hoc council.

An NHS ministry official who asked not to be named said that the ministry had argued in the SC that the appointment of the former registrar was illegal because the ordinance in question was not passed by parliament. He asked how the registration of medical and dental colleges could then be legal when the ordinance was not passed.

“We have no choice but to cancel the registration of colleges and then the process of inspection and other formalities will be started once again. It has been decided in principle that the colleges will be de-notified next week, however, it seems that private colleges have learned about it before the order or public notice was issued by the PMDC,” he added.

In a statement, PAMI warned that this decision would cause problems for students and teachers across the country.

“There is dire need of hospitals, doctors and paramedics to fight with the Covid-19 but the steps of the [government] are going to further complicate the issue. On 14th May the ad hoc council of PMDC decided to cancel the registration of 15 colleges despite the fact that PMC has registered those colleges after inspections. Thousands of students will be affected because of the decision,” it said.

It demanded that the government suspend the council’s decision.

PAMI meeting participants also believed that the PMDC president should not be a member of the council’s committees because this would raise questions about transparency, and demanded that the government return the sum of bank guarantees to colleges so they can meet their expenses.

Mr Khawaja, the association’s general secretary, told Dawn that PAMI would go to court against the council’s decision.

“We have no choice but to cancel exams and students’ supplies, and it has been decided that the decision will be implemented across the country,” he said.

Published in Dawn, May 17th, 2020

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