‘PMDC’s working affected by delay in establishing executive council’

Updated February 07, 2019

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Process of completing council delayed because ministry is waiting for provinces to nominate members, secretary says. ─ File photo
Process of completing council delayed because ministry is waiting for provinces to nominate members, secretary says. ─ File photo

ISLAMABAD: The National Health Services (NHS) secretary told senators on Wednesday that while the day-to-day affairs of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) are being carried out, the PMDC is not able to take any major decision without its executive council.

During a meeting of the Senate Special Committee on Law Reforms, NHS Secretary Zahid Saeed added that the NHS ministry has not delayed the completion of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council’s executive council, but is waiting for provinces to nominate members.

So far, he said, members’ names have only been submitted by the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Mr Saeed said he has asked chief secretaries to expedite the process of finalise members’ names as the delay is affecting the work of the PMDC, which is unable to review medical universities’ educational programmes without a council.

Process of completing council delayed because ministry is waiting for provinces to nominate members, secretary says

The Senate committee on Tuesday also recommended the ministry complete the process of appointing members to the 17-member executive council.

Senator Farooq H. Naek said that the working of the medical education regulator is suffering without an executive council.

The NHS secretary said the council will have representatives from all the provinces, and the members will elect the council’s president.

An ordinance to set up a 17-member executive council for the PMDC was promulgated by the government last month. Prior to this, the PMDC was run by an ad hoc committee for a year.

The ordinance will have to pass in the Senate and National Assembly within 120 days and has not been laid before Senate yet.

The head of the committee directed the NHS secretary to table the ordinance before parliament soon.

A PMDC committee was established through an act of parliament in 2012, but a presidential ordinance promulgated by then president Asif Ali Zardari in 2013 appointed Dr Raja Amjad as the administrator, who held elections that established the council.

In 2014, the PML-N promulgated a PMDC ordinance but the PPP passed a Senate resolution to repeal it. In 2016, an ad hoc committee was established which was led by retired Gen Azhar Kiani, which held elections and established a committee presided over by Prof Dr Shabir Lehri.

That ordinance was also not passed by parliament in January 2017, after which the Supreme Court dissolved the council and appointed former SC judge Justice Shakirullah Jan acting president of the council.

The promulgation of last month’s ordinance has now rendered that council ineffective, and a new 17-member council is to be formed.

The Senate committee also discussed other agenda items and considered two more: the tiers in the judicial system and the policy for special courts and their merging with ordinary courts, but did not finalise recommendations. The committee sought recommendations from the Ministry of Law and Justice, Law and Justice Commission and other concerned ministries for its next meeting.

The senators also discussed a Lahore High Court judgement regarding the performance of the function of rent controllers in cantonments by judicial officers. Officials from Military Land told the committee their department has filed an intra-court appeal against the aforementioned decision, at which point the committee decided to defer the matter until the appeal is decided.

Published in Dawn, February 7th, 2019