Bill prepared to establish Sindh medical & dental council: minister

Updated 21 Oct 2020

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In this Feb file photo, Sindh Minister for Health Azra Pechuho speaks to the media in Larkana. — INP
In this Feb file photo, Sindh Minister for Health Azra Pechuho speaks to the media in Larkana. — INP

KARACHI: The health department on Tuesday announced that it had prepared a bill for the establishment of a provincial medical and dental council. The bill would be got approved from the Sindh Assembly within three months after being vetted by the law department.

“The step has been taken due to federal government’s insistence to go ahead with the Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) despite our serious reservations,” Health Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho said.

Other provinces, too, had voiced their concerns over the PMC establishment, she added.

Earlier this month, the Sindh government had approached the federal authorities with the request to do away with the Pakistan Medical Commission Act, 2020, and, instead, continue with its previous policy.

Last week, the Sindh High Court had restrained the provincial authorities from holding the admission tests for medical and dental universities and colleges in the province. The tests were scheduled to be held on October 19 but had to be postponed amid the dispute between the federal and provincial authorities over PMC’s jurisdiction vis-a-vis admission policy.

Some pre-medical students also moved the SHC against the admission test and sought a restraining order against it.

The court had directed the federal and provincial authorities to file comments within five days in two petitions and issued notices to the federal and provincial law officers for Oct 22.

Asked about the stance of Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) on the dispute, Dr Qaiser Sajjad, representing the association, held the federal government responsible for Sindh government’s fresh move.

“The association has always advocated the case of a single medical and dental council at the federal level. Having such a body in provinces would do more harm than good. In this particular case, however, we believe the federal government is at fault and making decisions without consulting stakeholders.”

The federal government had initially brought the PMC through an ordinance last year. The issue was taken to court, which restored the PMDC and declared the PMC illegal.

Published in Dawn, October 21st, 2020