ISLAMABAD: A senior official from the Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) told a parliamentary committee on Monday that it would do everything possible

to increase the quota for students from the tribal districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in medical and dental colleges.

The Senate Standing Committee on States and Frontier Regions met to discuss doubling the quota for students from the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas in various universities and colleges according to a March 2017 cabinet decision.

The committee also directed medical colleges to give the PMC proposals to increase the number of seats for these students.

Additional seats were allocated for students from Fata in 2017. Most institutionsdoubled the quota after the merger of Fata with KP, but the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) argued that medical and dental colleges only have a certain number of seats according to provincial quotas and it would not be possible to increase seats just for students from the tribal districts.

The PMDC was dissolved through a presidential ordinance last month and replaced by the nine-member PMC.

Committee members said it was unfortunate that they took up this issue every time and it had yet to be addressed. They said there was a communication gap between different departments, because of which the cabinet’s decision was not being implemented.

The committee directed medical and dental colleges to give their recommendations to the PMC in a week so that the quota for students from the tribal districts can be doubled.

The PMC official said that while commission could not compromise on the quality of education, it would consider proposals from medical colleges and make every effort to increase the quota.

A representative from the Pakistan Engineering Council told the committee that it has informed the Higher Education Commission and given universities written directions to double the quota for students from tribal districts.

“Most of the institutionshave doubled the quota, but a few universities could not because they have to get permission from their syndicates,” he said.

The committee directed for all hurdles to be removed and for students from the tribal districts to be facilitated.

The managing director of the Small Industries Development Board said that thousands of people from Dara Adamkhel belong to the weapons production industry, so it has been decided to establish an industrial estate there.

Published in Dawn, November 19th, 2019