ISLAMABAD - Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentary leader in the Senate Sherry Rehman yesterday raised the alarm on how the Ministry of National Health Services sealed the building of the Pakistan Medical Commission, formerly known as the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council. 

“It is shocking how unlimited powers have been given to private dental colleges for fixing fees and for arbitrary admissions. The centralised admission policy now stands abolished,” she said in a statement.

She alleged the Pakistan Medical Council Bill was bulldozed by the federal government during the joint session last week, which was signed into law by the President through an ordinance.

“Not to forget, the way PMDC was dissolved is unconstitutional in the first place. It was rejected by a majority vote last year. An ordinance stands annulled immediately after a disapproving resolution is passed by either parliamentary chamber under the rules of business,” she added.

The PPP leader said in this whole fiasco, “Pakistani medical colleges will now lose international certification. Instead of taking control and more responsibility to correct a faulty system, the federal government is doing the exact opposite.”

Thousands of doctors, she said, had been waiting for their permanent and provisional certificates since last year. “Instead of facilitating them, the federal government seals PMDC. The centralized admission policy, which was introduced in the past to allow students to be admitted on merit, will be abolished and according to arbitrary interventions, not a policy board with proper all-counter representation , favoured private medical and dental colleges will have the power to frame the admission policy”, the Senator said.

This step, she said, will further lower the standard of medical education and also create serious problems for Pakistani licensed doctors serving abroad. 

“We should not abandon our overseas healthcare professionals, who are some of the best in the world, nor should the criterion of merit-based, inclusive and transparent policies be jettisoned,” Senator Rehman added.

The federal government, she said, had not only given a questionable level of admission autonomy to its hand-picked private medical colleges, but has also terminated the services of around 220 employees of the PMDC. 

 “This treatment is not new in the PTI government. Previously, we have witnessed how over 400 PTDC employees were sacked without any notice”, the Senator said.

The PPP Vice President said it was indeed unfortunate that efforts were being made to make parliament irrelevant and to run the country through presidential ordinances. 

“A new age of rank nepotism is upon is even in a highly specialised field such as healthcare, where compromises must not be made on standards of testing and certification. On another level we must at least facilitate the employees of the PMDC instead of leaving them unemployed in a time of high unemployment and extreme inflation,” she said.