ISLAMABAD: The prime minister has withdrawn nomination of two members of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) and nominated two new members.

The Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) issued a notification withdrawing the nomination of Professor Shoaib Shah and Dr Salman Jaffar.

Dr Shehnaz Nawaz and retired Lt Gen Dr Azhar Rashid have been nominated as the new members.

Dr Shehnaz Nawaz and retired Lt Gen Dr Azhar Rashid nominated in place of Professor Shoaib Shah and Dr Salman Jaffar

According to a letter signed by Additional Secretary Ministry of NHS Dr Allah Bakhsh Malik, the PMDC Ordinance 2019 was promulgated for regulating and controlling medical profession and establishing uniform minimum standards of basic medical education and training and recognition of qualifications in medicine and dentistry.

For the implementation of the mandate given by the PMDC ordinance, a council was established by the prime minister under Section 3 of the ordinance.

The members of the council are nominated by the prime minister under section 4, Sub-section 1 Clause (a&d). The authority has the statutory power to withdraw any nomination under section 7(2) of the ordinance.

“Dr Shoaib Shah and Dr Salman Jaffar were nominated under clauses (a&d) respectively. The nominations may be withdrawn under Sub-section 2 of Section 7 of PMDC Ordinance 2019,” it stated.

“Consequent upon withdrawal of the nominations, it is imperative to fill the resultant vacancies with new nominations i.e. Dr Shehnaz Nawaz and Lt Gen ® Dr Azhar Rashid.”

It was explained that the approval of the prime minister was solicited as the minister in-charge of the ministry of NHS. Moreover, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza approved the submission of a summery.

An official of the PMDC, requesting not to be quoted, told Dawn that both the members had objected to a number of decisions taken by the council such as registration of honorary degrees.

“They had also pointed out that the inspection of medical colleges was being done against rules and it would become a matter of embarrassment for the council and the government. As a result, the scheduled inspection of around 50 colleges was postponed. After that, efforts started to remove both the members,” he claimed.

Dr Shoaib Shah and Dr Salman Jaffar could not be contacted for comments.

President of the council Prof Dr Tariq Iqbal Bhutta told Dawn that he was in office till 7pm but did not get any intimation about the replacement of the two members.

“I am not aware that the members have been replaced so how can I know about the reason behind their removal,” he said in reply to a question.

But the special assistant to the prime minister on health confirmed to Dawn that both Dr Shah and Dr Jaffar had been replaced with Dr Nawaz and Dr Rashid.

However, he said as nominations were withdrawn by the prime minister only he (PM) can be aware of the reason behind it.On Jan 5, President Dr Arif Alvi promulgated the PMDC Ordinance 2019 envisaging that a 17-member council would deal with issues related to medical colleges, attached hospitals and health professionals.

On March 13, Prof Dr Tariq Iqbal Bhutta was elected as the president and Prof Dr Amer Zaman Khan as the vice president for a term of three years.

As the ordinance had to sail through parliament, a bill, “Pakistan Medical and Dental Council Bill 2019”, was tabled in Senate and referred to the standing committee on March 7.

Published in Dawn, July 17th, 2019