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Another controversy rocks PMDC

January 21, 2013

ISLAMABAD, Jan 21: The Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) is courting controversy yet again as the government considers the appointment of an administrator for its executive council even though there was no provision in the rules for such a measure.

A while back, the council had been criticised for the registration of 19 medical colleges in one day.

“The administrator will be at the PMDC once the summary is approved by the office of the Prime Minister and the ordinance of the PMDC is amended for the post for administrator,” a senior member of the government told Dawn.

The PMDC is the highest body regulating the field of medicine: it grants licences to doctors for practice, registers medical and dental colleges in public and private sector, and deals with cases of negligence. It comprises an executive council and an executive committee.

According to PMDC website, the council with seven members is a supreme body and takes all policy decisions, and its elections are held every four years.

“Since the council was dissolved on Aug 12, 2012, the elections must be held before Aug 2013 but due to infighting within the executive council, they have been delayed,” said another official at the Law and Justice Division.

He added: “It’s not just the elections of the council but a number of other factors like the alleged corruption which took place during the registration of 19 medical colleges in a single day.”

The controversy is deepened by rumoured clashes between Adviser to the Prime Minister Dr Asim Hussain and Dr Syed Sibatul Husnain, the executive council president, and Dr Nadeem Akbar, PMDC registrar.

“It was Dr Hussain who approached different offices in the government to take action against the members of the executive council of the PMDC since it had failed to hold the elections because of rifts within the executive members,” a source told Dawn.

“Dr Hussain has accused Dr Akbar of meddling with the electioneering process of the council and has had run-ins with Dr Husnain as well,” asserted the source.

However, the official at regulations division said soon after learning about the likely appointment of administrator, the PMDC had announced elections for the council.

When Dr Firdaus Ashiq Awan, the federal minister for services and regulations, was approached for her comments, she replied: “We have forwarded a summary to appoint an administrator at the PMDC and all this is being done within the legal framework.”Similarly, the services and regulation division’s secretary Imtiaz Inayat Elahi also came to Dr Awan’s rescue and said: “The federal government is not taking over the PMDC. Instead, our ministry received complaints relating to failure of the executive council for holding elections of the council. The government has jumped in to facilitate transparent and quick elections of the council in a short period of time without any scandals.”

Mr Elahi maintained: “The Ministry of Law and Justice has given its consent to our proposal and the summary is now pending with the office of the Prime Minister to appoint an administrator, which will be an interim arrangement.”

The secretary claimed that once the elections of the PMDC council “are organised in a successful manner, the administrator will leave his position and the council and the executive council will run the business.”

Despite repeated attempts, Dr Akbar, Dr Husnain and Dr Hussain could not be contacted to get their versions on the development.