Former Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) President Dr Asim Hussain on Wednesday told the Supreme Court (SC) that he is being "politicised" in the PMDC case.
"I am from a respectable family," the former PPP lawmaker told a three-member SC bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar.
"We made sacrifices for this country and my grandfather, Dr Ziauddin, was educated in Aligarh. We have been serving the educational and medical sectors for four generations."
"I am being politicised in this case. As a politician, my neck is always put on the line," complained Hussain, a former president of the PMDC.
To this, the chief justice assured him, "The court does not know politics and will not indulge in it," but also warned: "No one will be able to save your from the noose if you fail to clear yourself."
Hussain had been summoned by the apex court after his name appeared multiple times in a petition filed by the PMDC against a December 2017 ruling of the Lahore High Court, which had declared the PMDC illegal and nullified its 2016 regulations for admission to MBBS and BDS programmes offered by various medical colleges.
"Your name comes up whenever there is talk of malpractices within private medical colleges. It is said that people were given permission to open private colleges in return for bags filled with Rs200 million," the chief justice reminded Hussain.
A lack of merit in the admission policy of private medical colleges' is one of the things the SC is looking into, but Hussain, in his defence, claimed that: "The result of Ziauddin Medical College is 83 percent," — a point the chief justice countered with: "[But] there are accusations against medical colleges are that they present results in the wrong way."
Chief Justice Nisar also ruled that Hussain, as a central figure in the entire PMDC case, should be represented in the court — be it personally or through a counsel — over the course of the trial.
"All the fingers are being pointed at you; your presence here is necessary," the chief justice said. "You should assist us with all the faults we're seeing in medical colleges."
The chief justice and PMDC counsel Akram Sheikh highlighted how the the admission process of medical colleges discourages students from rural areas.
“Students from rural areas feel discouraged due to these entry tests,” said Sheikh. “The entry-test mafia has academies of their own where they charge exorbitant fees — something the poor can’t afford.”
The chief justice concured, adding: “Sometimes cadidates are rejected in interviews regardless of their academic ability. This isn’t right that a single interview overshadows a candidate’s entire academic capability.”
The chief justice mentioned some of the changes being pondered for the regulation of private medical colleges. “We will see if the medical colleges currently operating are working right,” he said.
“Medical colleges will have to give house jobs to their students themselves, and only those who adhere to the standards set by us will be allowed to keep working.”
Before adjourning the hearing till Thursday, the chief justice also floated the possibility of forming an ad hoc body, saying: "Perhaps, an ad hoc body could will straighten up everything from the PMDC to hospitals and medical colleges."