ISLAMABAD: Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat was informed by doctors of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) that bureaucracy was creating hurdles in the regularisation of their services.

The meeting, chaired by Senator Talha Mehmood, discussed the regularisation of doctors working at the Cardiac Centre of Pims.

Work on the Cardiac Centre started in 2005 and was to be ready in 14 months but it took 10 years to complete the project. The staff was appointed through PC-I and after completion of the project in 2015, they had to be dismissed. But the hospital management requested them to continue working without salaries promising that after regularisation their dues would be paid to them.

Establishment Division, FCPS and minister asked to resolve issue of Pims Cardiac Centre doctors

However, the employees could not be regularised because by then they had become overage and a special permission was required from the prime minister that could not be granted. The doctors not only approached parliamentary committees but also moved Islamabad High Court (IHC) but the issue could not be addressed.

Their salaries were also stopped because of unavailability of funds. Finally, after intervention of former chief justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar in 2018, the salaries of over 30 months were paid to the contractual staff and their contracts were being extended after every six months.

Secretary Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) Dr Allah Bakhsh Malik said the ministry would work as per directions of the Supreme Court.

“Doctors of Cardiac Centre have appeared in exam conducted by Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) and some of them have cleared it. Though the doctors have been working very well we need to have a legal way to regularise them,” he said.

Members of the Senate committee Dr Ashok Kumar and Javed Abbasi said how a doctor could clear an exam which they had passed 20 years ago. Dr Ashok said it was an order of the Supreme Court that no dental surgeon can become the executive director (ED) of Pims and even a former ED was removed because of it.

“However, now once again a dental surgeon has been appointed as the ED which is a clear violation of the apex court orders. Bureaucracy only accepts the orders of Supreme Court when they are in their favour,” he said.

Dr Mohammad Faisal of the Cardiac Centre informed the committee that it had been decided that additional marks would be given to the candidates during interviews but the doctors could not clear the written exam.

“It was impossible to clear the exam as we studied the course 18 years ago. Moreover, out of 12,000 candidates only 290 cleared the exam. The only doctor of the Cardiac Centre who cleared the exam was Prof Dr Faridullah. It is because he has been teaching and conducting exams after every six months,” he said.

Dr Faisal claimed that Supreme Court had never directed to regularise the services of the doctors through FPSC.

“The apex court had only said the Cardiac Centre should not be closed. It was Fawad Hasan Fawad, principal secretary to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who had suggested that services of the doctors should be regularised through the FPSC,” he said.

The committee directed that the Establishment Division, FCPS and the minister for parliamentary affairs to address the issue.

Published in Dawn, October 11th, 2019