According to an official close to the developments: 'Since FMDC is a federal government undergraduate college the seats had to be announced with brief details mentioning quota of every province, both rural and urban.' This practice is different from those medical colleges that work under the provincial governments: they only publicise the rural urban quota to enable students from backward areas to gain access to medical education.
Because of this, the faculty members at Pims, the attached teaching hospital, whose heads of departments are also to head the departments in FMDC, have lodged a protest in this regard.
According to Prof Khaleequz-Zaman, head of neurosurgery department at Pims-FMDC and head of medical education at FMDC: 'As per the federal government rules, you have to mention the quota of seats clearly defining how many seats have been allocated to each province and the formula used. Posts related to rural and urban areas are advertised for the knowledge of general public so that everyone gets a chance to apply on merit and information is shared by all.
Prof Zaman also looked perturbed by the unannounced increase in the number of seats at the college, and commented: `Students were never informed that the seats had been increased to 100; instead the official version was that only 50 students will be admitted. The increase was a closely guarded secret like it was a defence secret.
He informed that the admission policy was never shared with the faculty members and department heads of FMDC. 'These admissions are controversial. Given that Pims is the attached teaching hospital, all these issues will be raised in the upcoming faculty meeting of Pims and we are thinking of seeking justice from a court of law,' warned Prof Zaman. He is seconded by Prof Farooq Afzal, head of ophthalmology, who said: `We were never consulted in the admission policy and process so this whole thing is controversial.
PMDC Secretary Dr Nadeem Akbar, about the concerns being raised by the faculty member, said: 'We have re-inspected the new location of the college and raised the seats of the college from 50 to 100 after the approval of the council that has 67 members. It was done on merit and the decision was taken at the Council's 120th meeting [in December].
Dr Akbar said that they (PMDC) had nothing to do with the admission policy of the FMDC.
The FMDC was established on the mere wish of the Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani who directed the federal government to establish a medical college for poor and deserving students.
However, the increase in the number of seats took place contrarily to rules of business regarding admissions which are also not clear.
'Even when the admissions were advertised in November last year the seats were not mentioned in the advertisement. The only official statements available on record about the number of seats is the statement given to the media,' said the official close to the developments, requesting anonymity.
'If the seats at the FMDC were increased, why then was it advertised by the college that the quota has been revised and students should again compete for the additional 50 seats allocated by the PMDC,' he added.
FMDC principal Prof Mehmood Jamal also insisted: 'I am not aware of the facts because it was dealt by the Project Incharge Dr Jahanzeb Aurakzai. I was not in the loop and I am not aware of the rest of the 50 seats being announced later.
Prof Jamal made no comment over the FMDC and its admission policy as also the purchase of the equipment and hiring of the demonstrators and lecturers. He also avoided making any comment over the shifting of the building from Pims to National Institute of Health last month, asserting: 'I have no comments to offer.'
From what has gone above, the later event saw the principal of Federal Medical and Dental College (FMDC), Prof Mehmood Jamal, quit the post the post over what was said to be an admission row between the faculty of Pims and the college management.
The Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) had increased the number of seats in the college from 50 to 100 but the Pims (Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences) faculty members were neither intimated of the increase nor about the admissions to the new seats ever advertised by the college.
As a result, many faculty members and heads of departments had openly voiced their concerns over dealing with the incoming batch and the quality of education to be imparted in the institution. The faculty of Pims has also declared the admissions as 'controversial.'
In April last year, the PMDC had given provisional approval for the recognition of the 50-seat college on the premises of Pims, an attached teaching hospital of the FMDC. The recognition of the college was primarily approved because of the faculty and infrastructure of Pims.
The college is affiliated with Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU), Islamabad, for awarding degrees but it was shifted to the National Institute of Health (NIH) which was later declared as Prime Minister`s National Health Complex.
The faculty of Pims, which is all set to go to the court, has also lodged a protest over shifting of the college from the vicinity of Pims.
In a letter, Prof Jamal informed the secretary CADD: 'It is requested that as per CADD notification I was appointed by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani as the principal of the FMDC. Since the FMDC was shifted to NIH in Chak Shehzad and placed under the administrative control of the cabinet division and as I have also not been associated with the decision-making process regarding the academic matters and admissions to the FMDC, it is not possible for me to continue as principal of the college. Therefore, I am relinquishing the charge and want to dedicate myself to the better working of the Pims hospital.
Prof Jamal took over the charge of the college in August last year when he was given the new assignment in addition to his position of the executive director of Pims.
When asked to comment on the resignation of Prof Jamal, an official of CADD said: `The resignation has been sent to the office of the prime minister and the secretary cabinet division which are looking after the affairs of the FMDC.
The copies of the resignation have already been received by the office of the secretary CADD and forwarded to the prime minister's office and the cabinet division, he added.
However, Prof Jamal when contacted for his comments, said: 'I have relinquished my charge since I felt that it was the right way to do. I want to dedicate myself to the better working of the hospital.'
He however noted: 'The move was specifically in line with the recent developments linked with the admissions controversy and the same was mentioned in my letter.
It may be noted that a meeting of the Pims faculty is set to be held in two days, where the faculty members, most of them also heading departments at FMDC, will decide about the final action over the development in the FMDC.