ISLAMABAD: A subcommittee of the Senate Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation on Tuesday criticised the management of College of Physicians and Surgeons of Pakistan (CPSP) for considering itself above parliament.

The committee members also said one group has been running the college for a long time, and suggested that there should be a moratorium for anyone on becoming president of the CPSP for more than twice.

The committee was discussing issues related to the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS).

When committee chairman Dr Ashok Kumar of the National Party asked if the CPSP was under the ministry, NHS Joint Secretary Saeedullah Khan Niazi said it does not recognise the ministry.

“Time to time we have written letters but CPSP even does not reply to them,” he said.

Members say one group has been running the college for a long time

Project Director Safe Blood Transfusion Programme Prof Hasan Abbas Zaheer said CPSP was behind the controversy due to which Pakistani doctors’ services were terminated in Saudi Arabia.

A member of the committee, independent Senator Dr Asad Ashraf said there was a need to look into the issue of CPSP.

“The CPSP management openly says it asks GHQ to give two names for its council due to which they get 50 per cent of votes. It is a non-regulated sector and the CPSP head has 58-2(b) and can dismiss anyone,” he said.

It may be explained that in the past Article 58-2(b) of the Constitution empowered the president of Pakistan to remove any government.

However, this power was withdrawn by parliament through the 18th amendment.

Senator Ashraf said CPSP was not answerable to anyone and suggested to the convener of the committee to look into the matter as it considered itself above parliament.

He also suggested to the ministry of NHS to do legislation to get power to regulate the CPSP.

However, Senator Kumar said it was difficult to regulate the CPSP.

“When [MQM legislator] Mian Ateeq Sheikh was the chairman of the standing committee on NHS, he tried his best to call CPSP management to meetings but they did not listen to him. I am not capable enough as Mr Sheikh was,” he said.

Joint Secretary Niazi said under the new law even Pakistan Medical Commission cannot regulate institutions such as the CPSP.

“Now the Higher Education Commission (HEC) will be authorised to recognise the institutions,” he said.

According to the website of CPSP, the college is a unique postgraduate medical institution in Asia.

Founded 55 years ago, it has the objective of promoting specialist medical practice, arrange postgraduate medical training and research and advance the high principles of medical profession.

Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2019