ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court will hear a contempt petition filed by the registrar of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) today (Monday).

An application filed by the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) claiming the appointment of the registrar is illegal has also been merged with the contempt plea.

The PMDC was dissolved by a presidential ordinance promulgated on Oct 19, 2019, which paved the way for the establishment of the Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC). On Oct 20, the NHS ministry sealed the PMDC building and terminated the services of 220 members of its staff, retaining only class four employees.

The building was opened again when the PMC was formed.

On Feb 11 this year, the IHC declared the ordinance “null and void” and restored the PMDC and the services of its sacked employees.

Application filed by NHS ministry claiming registrar’s appointment is illegal merged with contempt plea

Rather than implement the court decision, the ministry sealed the PMDC building again and stopped council employees from entering.

The government also appealed the decision before a division bench but was not successful in getting the decision suspended or obtaining a stay, while PMDC employees filed a contempt petition.

While hearing the contempt petition, a bench comprising Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani on March 30, gave the government an hour to open the PMDC and warned that the concerned officials could be imprisoned.

Although the ministry issued a letter regarding the unsealing of the building, it did not let the PMDC registrar or employees in for three days.

The ministry has now filed a petition claiming the registrar’s appointment is illegal, while the registrar has filed an application stating that the government did not implement the court order even after a decision on the contempt application.

Justice Kayani will hear the case on Monday.

PMA criticises govt attitude regarding PMDC

The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) has expressed concern regarding the government’s attitude after PMDC employees were not allowed to work despite orders from the IHC.

PMA Secretary General Dr Qaisar Sajjad said: “We regretfully say that government is not implementing the decision of the IHC and PMDC is not being restored. The head office and regional offices of PMDC are closed. The situation is creating miseries for medical professionals. Now at this point doctors are fighting on front line with coronavirus in Pakistan, but their registration with PMDC has expired.”

Dr Sajjad said the PMA believes the government should implement the IHC verdict immediately and open the PMDC head office in Islamabad as well as the regional offices in the provinces.

He said the PMDC registrar should be allowed to resume duties with a third of the council’s staff because of the coronavirus situation, so that day-to-day issues facing medical professionals can be resolved.

Published in Dawn, April 6th, 2020