LAHORE, Nov 28: The Punjab government has finally decided to upgrade Fatima Jinnah Medical College to a university.
The development was shared in a meeting of a committee constituted by the Punjab government to formulate proposals to upgrade its status, a senior official familiar with the decision told Dawn on Wednesday.
Headed by Senator Ishaq Dar, the committee met on Monday at 7-Club Road wherein the state departments concerned were tasked with formulating modalities to convert FJMC into a university.
After upgradation ‘the Fatima Jinnah Medical University’ would be first varsity for women in the country.
Vice chancellors of the King Edward Medical University, University of Health Sciences (UHS), law secretary, the health special secretary and additional secretary (technical) also attended the meeting besides other officials concerned.
The official said the meeting was called to implement the decision of the Supreme Court to elevate status of the FJMC which has been training female students from Pakistan and abroad since 1948.
He said the committee discussed ongoing programmes at the college, its financial status, budgetary allocations, human resource and infrastructure.
It also reviewed future requirements of the state-run medical institute after upgradation, including creation of new posts and medical seats for students.
The official further said the legal formalities also came under discussion to avoid complications and the law secretary was asked to prepare proposals in this regard. The health department was given a separate task to prepare a detailed scheme for upgradation.
He said the students of country’s one of the premier public sector medical institutes - Fatima Jinnah Medical College - had launched a series of protests against its affiliation with the UHS. The upgradation of its status to university was also a longstanding demand of the students.
On the protests by the students, he said the then chief justice Khwaja Muhammad Sharif had taken suo motu notice in 2010. The Lahore High Court later directed the Punjab government to upgrade the college to university. The Punjab government moved to the Supreme Court which upheld the decision of the LHC and directed it to comply with the directions some four months ago.
Talking about the historic perspective of the second oldest medical institute of the country, a senior doctor told Dawn the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital was originally established by Sir Ganga Ram, a Hindu civil engineer, during the British rule in Lahore in 1921.
In 1946, the family of Sir Ganga Ram started Balak Ram Medical College, named after a son of Sir Ganga Ram. After partition another hospital with the same name was established by Mr. Dharma Vira in India.
Fatima Jinnah Medical College was established in 1948 after Independence. The need for establishment of an institution to train women in the medical profession was acutely felt.
He said Quaid-i-Azam approved the name of his sister Fatima Jinnah to be associated with this institution.
The FJMC started functioning in October 1948, but was formally inaugurated on March 31, 1949 by then prime minister Khwaja Nazimuddin and first batch of 39 students passed out of the college in 1953.