ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) on Monday decided to postpone the scheduled inspections of around 50 colleges because most council members believed that the teams of inspectors were illegal and would cause problems for the council during its audit because this also had financial implications.

The council meeting was chaired by Vice President Dr Amer Zaman Khan, as its president Dr Tariq Abdul Bhutta is out of the country. One of the agenda items was the inspection of medical and dental colleges.

A member privy to the meeting who requested anonymity said the meeting continued from 10am to 5pm.

“During the meeting, some members pointed out that subsection 1 of section 22 of the PMDC Ordinance 2019 states that the list of inspectors shall be approved by the council. They asked if approval was sought and the response was in the negative. We said it would be challenged in court and the whole council would suffer,” he said.

Council members at meeting argued that current inspection teams were illegal and would cause problems for the council in the future

“Rather than replying to our question, the head of the evaluation committee Dr Amer Bilal and another member Ali Raza, said they resigned from the council and left the meeting. I assume they were expecting the members would stop them, but no one did. However, they announced their resignation verbally but it was not submitted in writing,” he added.

In response to a question, the member said approving inspectors was a legal requirement of the council because these issues are challenged in court.

“As many as 52 colleges have to be inspected in the first phase, and unfortunately letters were written to them on [June 28] that the inspections would be held [July 1] even though colleges should be given time to prepare,” he said. A total of 11 teams of seven members each were established to inspect colleges in Islamabad, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Azad Kashmir, he said. It has now been decided that new teams will be formed after approval from the council.

Another council member who asked not to be named said each inspection has financial implications of around Rs800,000.

“There are 170 medical and dental colleges, so it would create a huge issue for us. Already litigation has been started against the council and all the members would suffer because of such issues,” he said. He added that there are four kinds of inspections: zero inspections – held to inform colleges about the facilities they should have before classes start, informed inspections – held to check facilities and teaching, due inspections – held annually, and surprise inspections.

Another member said Mr Bilal and Mr Raza left the meeting because they could not respond to questions and did not return until the meeting concluded.

“The next council meeting will be held after July 25, and until theninspections will not be held,” he said.

According to a letter written to Mohi-ud-Din Islamic Medical College available with Dawn, the council in its 199th session on July 1 discussed the nationwide inspections of colleges and in view of logistical issues decided that they would be temporarily postponed. College administrations will be informed of the rescheduled inspections.

Acting president Dr Zaman and council member Dr Bilal could not be reached for comment despite repeated attempts. However, council member Mr Raza told Dawn him and Dr Bilal did not resign.

“I have received a number of calls after the meeting that I have resigned and I have been telling them that I have not sent any written resignation to the competent authority,” he said.

Published in Dawn, July 2nd, 2019