ISLAMABAD: Two more council members of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) were removed by the Prime Minister Office on Wednesday.
Thus far, four PMDC members out of 17 have been removed during the current week.
On July 16, the Ministry of National Health Services [NHS] issued a notification withdrawing the nominations of Professor Shoaib Shah and Dr Salman Jaffar, both from Islamabad, and replacing them with Dr Shehnaz Nawaz and retired Lt Gen Dr Azhar Rashid.
During a PMDC meeting, held on Wednesday, an official privy to it, told Dawn, on the condition of anonymity, that council member Prof Dr Muslim Khan objected to the earlier removal of two members i.e. Prof Shah and Dr Jaffar.
Thus far, four out of 17 members have been removed during current week
“He said that it seems both members were denotified because they criticised the registration of an honorary degree of an influential council member. Also, they opposed the inspection of medical and dental colleges without getting the pool of inspectors approved from the council. However, during the meeting, one of the members, who had registered the honorary degree, distributed a letter by the KP government which stated that Prof Muslim Khan [from KP] had been denotified,” he said.
When contacted, Prof Khan said he was unaware of his removal. “I asked PMDC President Prof Dr Tariq Iqbal Bhutta about the matter but he replied in the negative. It is in my nature that I resist against illegalities and I did so. Later, I found out a member from Punjab, Dr Khalid Usman was also denotified.”
An NHS ministry official, requesting anonymity, said that according to the rules denotification or removal of a PMDC member has to be done through the NHS ministry.
“The prime minister notifies all the [PMDC] members so only he [has the authority to] denotify them and then the [relevant] ministry issues a notification. Thus, we denotified earlier two members but we have not got any intimation regarding the removal of members from Punjab and KP.”
But PMDC President Dr Bhutta confirmed to Dawn that all four members had been denotified. When asked why NHS ministry had not issued a notification regarding the latest two removals, Dr Bhutta said that PM Office had directly sent the letters to the PMDC.
The PMDC meeting on Wednesday also decided to resume inspections of over 50 medical and dental colleges which had been postponed because some members had objected as the pool of inspectors hadn’t been approved. According to Prof Muslim, this was going ahead because Dr Bhutta had said at the meeting that it didn’t matter if the pool of inspectors was approved or not.
The council also decided to stop health allowance of employees which was confirmed by Dr Bhutta. “We have decided to withdraw the health allowance of employees, which was equal to basic salary, as Accountant General of Pakistan Revenue had objections. It will save us around
Rs12.5 million every month but we will pay the health allowance if the objection is removed,” he said.
Published in Dawn, July 18th, 2019