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IHC seeks response from health, interior ministries on petition challenging MDCAT results

IHC seeks response from health, interior ministries on petition challenging MDCAT results

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday issued notices to the Ministry of National Health Services, the Ministry of Interior, the Pakistan Medical Council (PMC) and others on a petition challenging the results of the recently-held Medical and Dental Colleges Admission Tests (MDCAT). The petition was filed in accordance with the last will of late scientist Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan.

The petition, filed by Supreme Court advocate Mohammad Waqas Malik as co-petitioner on Monday, requested the high court to set aside the results of the MDCAT. It cited the Ministry of National Health Services, the federation through the Ministry of Interior, the PMC, the Ministry of Law and other departments as respondents.

The petitioners pleaded that the PMC Conduct of Examination Regulations 2021 may be set aside for being contrary to the fundamental rights and the respondents be directed to not expose young students to "violent policies".

During today's hearing, presided over by Justice Babar Sattar, the court sought response from the ministries and directed them to submit their replies within the next three weeks.

The court also sought a record of cases registered against medical students from the interior ministry and asked authorities to inform the court about the process of conducting the National Licencing Examination (NLE).

Advocate Malik contended that a centralised order cannot be issued after the 18th Amendment and urged the court to set aside the PMC Conduct of Examination Regulations 2021.

He added that baton-charging of young doctors was tarnishing the country's image globally. "Introducing a new system for conducting exams without giving students appropriate time is not right," he said, adding that they were entitled to higher education on merit.

The hearing was adjourned for three weeks.

The petition, a copy of which is available with, said the petitioner (Dr Khan), who was once known and called the “father of Pakistan’s atomic weapons programme, had faced ignorance at the hands of the state.“

The petitioner felt dejected by the materialistic approach of the functionaries and ill-treatment with the future of Pakistan, hence this petition. That the government half-heartedly dissolved the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council and set up the Pakistan Medical Commission, which as usual resulted in a mess, it stated.

The petition said that poor students had been forced to appear in a useless test (MDCAT) and required to pay each time more than Rs6,000. Earlier in 2018, the public universities and colleges used to select students on the basis of marks obtained. The universities and colleges were allowed the number of seats/students up to that aggregate marks and merit list was prepared and published, it said, adding that private educational institutions were also following the same rules.

Over the weekend, confusion had prevailed among the 200,000 candidates who appeared in the MDCAT after the PMC announced on social media that the result cards that had been emailed should be ignored as they had a number of mistakes.

According to some of the result cards, available with Dawn, students scored 45 and even 51 marks out of a total of just 20 marks.

Similarly, there was a difference of around 30 to 40 marks in the total. When the result cards were shared by the candidates on social media, the commission responded by saying that they should ignore the results.

Later, it was announced that around 125,000 candidates — 65 per cent overall — had failed to get passing marks [137/210].

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