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The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday, during a suo moto hearing on the matter of private medical colleges' exorbitant fees, sought an explanation from Pakistan Medical and Dental Council's (PMDC) former vice-president, Dr Asim Hussain, on why he devised policies that benefited private medical colleges.

A three-member SC bench, led by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, directed Hussain to appear before the court on January 10.

PMDC counsel Akram Sheikh sided with the SC on the matter, claiming: "Private medical colleges are holding medical education hostage, and this is a result of Dr Asim Hussain's policies."

The chief justice also noted that malpractices at private medical colleges have eroded the value of Pakistani degrees at international level.

"We don't get respect at international universities because our degrees have lost their value," Chief Justice Nisar said, adding, "These last four days, we've been contemplating declaring illegal all the admissions by private medical colleges."

The apex court said that it wanted to know how many private medical colleges were founded in accordance with the law.

The bench also clarified that the case didn't just concern institutions in Punjab but has a nationwide applicability.

"Our [court's] aim is rectification," said the chief justice. "Anyone's child could die due to a lack of facilities; we don't want any child to lose their life."

The court issued a notice to the PMDC, adjourning the hearing until Tuesday.

The apex court, under its 2018 agenda, is focusing on human rights issues, particularly those relating to the people’s right to quality education and healthcare.

In the last hearing, the bench had set a fee limit of Rs642,000 for private medical colleges across the country. It had also formed a constitutional committee that will visit all the medical colleges in Pakistan.