ONE generally tends to feel happy when a prediction comes true, but this was not the case when the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council Ordinance 2019 lapsed on Sept5 after having failed to get through parliament and an advisory committee was formed instead.
At the time of the promulgation of the said ordinance, I had written in these very columns (Jan15, 2019): “I wonder whether the government has considered the pros and cons of this ordinance. It will face an uphill task in this context in getting a bill passed from both houses. The council it will set up will be dissolved and an ad hoc committee appointed, and the game of musical chairs will go on.” It was not prescience; just that this game has been going on for so long that anyone following it would have known where it was headed.
The Pakistan Medical Association has time and again called for an independent, autonomous and democratic PMDC. It is beyond comprehension what makes it so difficult for successive governments to allow the PMDC to function according to its charter outlined in the PMDC Ordinance, 1962.
In line with its predecessors, the sitting government seems determined to destroy not only the PMDC but also the entire healthcare delivery system. A suo motu action by the apex court now seems to be the only hope left in this regard.
Dr Mirza Ali Azhar
Published in Dawn, September 21st, 2019