ISLAMABAD: The protesting employees of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) on Tuesday warned of staging a sit-in outside the President House after Dr Arif Alvi sent back the Medical Teaching Institution (MTI) Repeal Bill to the government for reconsideration.

Meanwhile, the out-patient departments (OPDs) of the hospital remained closed for the second consecutive day, with employees vowing to keep it shut until the MTI Act was repealed.

In November 2020, President Dr Arif Alvi had promulgated the MTI Ordinance under which the hospital was to be run through a board of governors (BoG) entrusted to deal with the affairs of Pims.

Members were appointed and notified by the Ministry of National Health Services on the recommendation of a search and nomination council. Even though employees protested against the ordinance, it had sailed through the parliament.

The current government passed the MTI Repeal Bill and sent it to the president to get his nod but he returned it with a suggestion to reconsider it. Now, the government is left with no choice but to pass the bill again in a joint session to make it an Act of law.

Talking to Dawn, Federal Health Alliance (FHA) spokesperson Dr Asfandyar Khan said President Alvi should reconsider his decision and sign the bill.

“Otherwise we will be left with no option but to hold a sit-in outside the presidency. It will be embarrassing for the PTI because while it would be holding a long march to get justice, employees of Pims would be staging a sit-in to get justice from the President of Pakistan who has been showing his loyalty to the PTI and avoiding repeal of the law which was made during the PTI’s tenure. At present, employees and patients both have been suffering because of the said legislation,” he said.

FHA President Dr Haider Abbasi said employees were united and would keep the OPDs shut till the BoG was dissolved. Earlier, he said during the PTI’s tenure, employees had protested for 72 days and they could do it again.

FHA Chairman Chaudhry Qamar Gujjar said it was unfortunate that implementation of the MTI Repeal Bill was delayed because of the president, adding that Rs10 million were being spent on employees recruited by the BoG every month.

Published in Dawn, November 23rd, 2022

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