Wednesday Sep 18, 2019
Over the past eight months, the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) has worked under the Presidential Ordinance in Pakistan — ever since President Dr Arif Alvi on January 9, 2019, formed a body of 17 PMDC members.
According to Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) Secretary-General Dr Qaiser Sajjad, the body's main objective was to run the PMDC affairs and make a drafting and legislation for PMDC. Hwoever, "due to political turmoil and other delay tactics, the bill for PMDC wasn't drafted on time, and so, in April, President Arif Alvi had extended the ordinance for another 120 days.
"According to the rules, the bill should be passed from both houses the National Assembly and the Senate," he said. "After completing the 240 days of Presidential Order, the government has decided to pass the bill from the Senate but did not succeed”.
The PMDC, which is the only high-level state organisation in the country, offers registrations for, legislation to, and inspections of medical institutions and doctors, as well as providing assistance to patient regarding their safety and rights.
Sources informed Geo News that after the Senate failure, Dr Zafar Mirza — the minister of national health services, regulations, and coordination and the director of health system development at the World Health Organization's (WHO) Cairo office — had released a notification to set up an advisory committee to run the PMDC's affairs.
On the other hand, Dow University of Health Sciences Vice Chancellor Saeed Qureshi told Geo News that not only were committees illegal, the eight-member committee, interestingly, did not have single public sector representative from either Sindh or Balochistan.
Dr Mirza did not have any authority to form a committee for the PMDC, Dr Sajjad told Geo News, adding that after the Senate rejected the PMDC Ordinance 2019, an adhoc committee should have been formed and tasked to conduct PMDC elections within the given time period.
According to the 1962 rules pertaining to the PMDC, the body should be constituted following an election and every province should have a nomination in it.
Dr Sajjad said the PMA appealed to Prime Minister Imran Khan and Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, the chief justice of Pakistan, "to look into the matter and order the concerned authorities to call immediate elections as per the constitution of the PMDC and that the elected body should manage the affairs of the PMDC.
"PMA has always stressed upon making the PMDC an autonomous, independent, transparent, democratic, and vibrant body to look after the related issues in a democratic and transparent way.
"We demand from the President and the Prime Minister of Pakistan to intervene immediately and dissolve this advisory committee," he added.
Neither Dr Zafar Mirza nor his office return Geo News' call for comment.