The Islamabad High Court on Tuesday declared the presidential ordinance for the dissolution of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) as null and void and reinstated the employees of the council.
In a short order announced in court, Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani also ordered the dissolution of the newly-formed Pakistan Medial Commission (PMC) declaring it to be illegal.
After the verdict was announced, the reinstated employees, who had petitioned against the government move to dissolve PMDC were seen congratulating each other inside the court premises.
In October of last year, President Dr Arif Alvi had promulgated an ordinance which had left the PMDC dissolved and paved the way for the establishment of PMC.
The national health services ministry through the Islamabad district administration and police also took over possession of the PMDC building and informed its 220 employees that the office would remain shut for a week.
Following this, the IHC admitted a petition against PMDC's dissolution on October 30.
The registrar of PMDC, retired Brig Dr Hafizud Din and 31 employees moved the IHC, arguing that an act of parliament gave powers to the government to dissolve the PMDC, but its president, vice president and the executive committee would stay intact till the appointment of newcomers after elections which were to be held within a year.
The petition said services of PMDC employees were terminated without giving them a proper opportunity of hearing. It had expressed apprehensions that the PMC may hire the services of new employees on sanctioned and contractual positions through other modes after issuing advertisements which would jeopardise the vested rights to serve the council’s previous employees.
It had requested the court to declare the ordinance for the establishment of the PMC as unconstitutional and in the meantime allow PMDC employees to continue working in the newly-formed commission.
IHC questions why citizens not repatriated from China
IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah in a separate hearing today asked why the Pakistani government had not repatriated its citizens stranded in virus-hit China.
“Bringing back citizens will affect relations with any country” is no explanation, the judge remarked.
“When Bangladesh has brought back its students from China, what is stopping Pakistan from doing the same?”
Responding to the IHC chief justice’s remarks, a health ministry representative said Bangladesh had reversed its decision to repatriate citizens, adding that only 23 out of 194 countries had evacuated their citizens from China. The official added that the decision to keep Pakistani citizens in China had been taken to control the spread of the virus in Pakistan.
Meanwhile, a representative from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told the court that the Chinese ambassador had assured Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi that Pakistani citizens in Wuhan were being taken care of.
“We asked the Chinese government to allow our ambassador into Wuhan but they have responded that they don’t want to take any risks,” the foreign ministry official said.
Justice Minallah said the court wanted the state to take responsibility of its citizens. In reply, the foreign ministry representative said the ministry was monitoring the situation and will take decisions in the best interest of the students and the country.