ISLAMABAD: Senator Mian Ateeq Shaikh on Monday criticised the federal government’s recent notification regarding council members of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) for not including nominees from Sindh and Balochistan.

Mr Shaikh — who belongs to the government’s coalition partner Muttahida Qaumi Movement — while speaking on the floor of the Senate said: “I have learnt that efforts are being made to elect the President of Council without the inclusion of members from two important provinces. I suggest that the president should not be elected as long as the council remains incomplete.”

He questioned why the government decided to promulgate the PMDC ordinance through a backdoor route rather than tabling the bill in parliament.

“Moreover, if the Presidential Ordinance had to be promulgated, it should have been tabled in parliament at the earliest. Only 12 out of 17 members have been nominated but efforts are being made to elect the PMDC president which is unjustified,” he said, adding that National Health Services (NHS) minister Aamer Mehmood Kiani should have been here to respond.

Leader of the House in Senate Shibli Faraz said that the ordinance would be presented in parliament soon. He said that Mr Kiani could not attend the meeting due to some reasons.

It is pertinent to mention that in the first week of January, President Arif Alvi promulgated an ordinance titled ‘PMDC Ordinance 2019’ suggesting that a 17-member council would deal with the issues related to medical colleges, attached hospitals and health professionals.

On Feb 28, the NHS ministry notified 12 members of the council despite the fact that the government of Balochistan had issued a notification dated Feb 21 in which three members were nominated. Those members included former PMDC president Prof Dr Shabir Lehri for clinical faculty, Prof Nadeem Samad Sheikh for the basic sciences faculty and Prof Mirza Khan for the seat of dentistry.

The notification was widely criticised because there was no mention of the five members from Sindh and Balochistan. On Friday, National Party Senator Dr Ashok Kumar also criticised the notification.

Private Medical and Dental Institutions General Secretary Khaqan Waheed Khuwaja while speaking to Dawn said that the PMDC president should not be elected without having a representation of Sindh and Balochistan in the council.

“I suggest that Prime Minister Imran Khan should contact both provinces and ensure that they nominate their members because otherwise, the absence of members from two provinces would create problems,” he said.

Published in Dawn, March 5th, 2019