ISLAMABAD   -   A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services (NHS) was adjourned on Thursday after its members expressed no confidence on the committee chairman and boycotted the session.

The Senate body on health was summoned here by the committee chairman Senator Muhammad Ateeq Sheikh to discuss the issues of implementation on vertical health programs and National Tuberculosis Control Program (NCTP).

However, soon the meeting started senators, including Dr Ashok Kumar, Liaqat Khan Tarakai, Sikandar Mandhro and Dr. Ghous Muhammad Khan Niazi protested upon the conduct of the committee chairman and left the room.

Differences between the committee members emerged after the chairman committee senator Ateeq Sheikh facilitated the ministry of National Health Services (NHS) in passing the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) bill 2019.

A three-member subcommittee formed by chairman Ateeq Sheikh comprising senator Ashok Kumar, senator Dr. Asad Ashraf and Senator Sikandar Mandhro in a detailed report had recommended disapproving the PMDC bill 2019.

However, in the previous meeting of Senate body on NHS, chairman Ateeq Sheikh turned the meeting into in-camera session and passed the bill despite of the other senators’ disagreement.

But the treasury benches failed in passing the bill from the Senate as the opposition voted against the bill and rejected it.

Senator Dr Ashok Kumar, while expressing resentment on the conduct of the body chairman, said that he amongst few other senators would not sit in the committee presided by senator Ateeq Sheikh.

He said that committee chairman conduct with other committee members and media is not praiseworthy. He urged the committee chairman to adjourn the session of the committee.

He also said that he has support of six senators who are also doctors and electing new chairman of the committee is also an option before them.

He also said that disgruntled members of the committee will also consider bringing a no confidence motion against the chairman.

Senator Ateeq Sheikh though tried to convince displeased members of the committee, but his efforts went in vain.

While persuading the Dr. Ashok Kumar and others to attend the committee, he also said that he was ready to tender his resignation if it was demand of the fellow senators.

“Opposition has created disappointing situation and committee decision on PMDC bill was unanimous decision of the Senate body. And committee members had supported the PMDC bill in previous session,” he said, adding that some senators were taking personal grudge against him which was not appreciable.

However, later on the meeting of the senate body on health was adjourned as the disgruntled senators didn’t attend the session.

Sub-committee of the NHS convened by Senator Dr Ashok Kumar had said that “all members of the sub-committee unanimously disapproved the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council Ordinance 2019”.

It said the sub-committee is of the consensus view that the government may introduce a bill in the parliament to amend the PM&DC Ordinance 1962 if it so requires. Therefore, the sub-committee unanimously recommends that the standing committee on National Health Services and regulations may not pass Pakistan Medical and Dental Council Ordinance, 2019”.

It also said that the sub-committee expresses its strong concerns over the circulation of the PMDC Ordinance 2019 as it is not justifiable on any ground. “It is fraud on the constitution and subversion of democratic legislative processes,” said the report.