ISLAMABAD – The establishment of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Medical University, (SZABMU) would neither change the name of any existing institution nor its functions in any way, and the status of the medical university would be overarching academic body for award of degrees, diplomas and research in the field of medicine.

Federal Minister for Capital Administration and Development Nazar Muhammad Gondal tried to dispel the misconceptions about the university at a press conference after the passage of the Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Medical University (SZABMU) Bill 2013 by the National Assembly Thursday amid protests by opposition benches.

Gondal said Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Medical University, is being established to provide comprehensive healthcare delivery under one umbrella for the general public and medical community of the federal capital. He said earlier, the medical institutes were affiliated with the Quaid-I-Azam University (QAU) that is not a medical institute so there was a need and demand to establish a medical degree-awarding institute for the affiliation of medical institutes.   

Clarifying the misconceptions, he said the name of Quaid-I-Azam Postgraduate Medical College will not be changed and the college will remain functioning as it working now but it will be affiliated with the new medical university. He said all health institutions in Islamabad Capital Territory and adjoining areas like Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan that had no medical university to be affiliated with would have a proper degree awarding institution in line with the universally accepted requirement and also the directions of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC).

He also mentioned that the civil service rights of the employees will remain intact and the services of not a single employee will be laid off. 

Though the infrastructure for the establishment of the university is already there, the President has approved Rs 500 million grant to meet the needs. The minister informed that the university is expected to tap at least a hundred million annually, for the public sector which would be utilised for provision of medical services in the federal capital and will also ensure it to be a self-sustainable venture.

He viewed that there was no institute in the federal capital named after the great leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who laid down his life for democracy and for the rights of the people so this university has been named after the late leader.  ‘If any park is established in Punjab it is named as Nawaz Shairf Park and colleges established in Lahore and Gujraat were named after the PML-N leader but the Pakistan People’s Party did not raise any objections’ he added.  

Regarding the constitution of a separate Federal Directorate of Colleges, the minister maintained, he has the powers to establish a directorate for the collages without the approval of the Prime Minister and the Establishment Division. 

The executive director of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) Dr Riaz Warriach who was also present at the press conference said the inauguration ceremony of the medical university would be held after a week at National Institute of Health (NIH) where its main campus would be established and 16 medical colleges across the country would be affiliated with the university.

Earlier, the employees of the three public sector hospitals had rejected the establishment of the university fearing that it will deprive them of their civil servant rights and convert the hospitals into autonomous bodies.

Later on, the nursing association of PIMS had disassociated itself from the protests saying that bill does not include such provisions.