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Health Minister receives Contempt of Court notice

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Karachi:The State Minister for National Health Service along with the Director General NHS and other Members of the Managing Committee of Pakistan Medical & Dental Council (PMDC), have all received notices from the Sindh High Court, in response to a “Contempt of Court” application. These high officials have been accused of defying the Sindh High Court’s orders in the PMDC case.

Dr. Naved Rashid Qureshi – a Senior Dental Surgeon, Member of PMDC and the President of Pakistan Dental Association Karachi, has filed a “Contempt of Court” application against all these officials. He has challenged the promulgation of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (Amendment) Ordinance-2014 that was issued to de-notify the current council and executive committee of PMDC.

According to media reports; The applicant submitted that the SHC had issued interim stay order on April 8 regarding the functioning of ad-hoc managing committee of PMDC, formed by the federal government after de-notifying the elected members of the PMDC through an ordinance. The court was informed that “the managing committee through alleged contemnors under the garb of the impugned ordinance, which is the subject matter of the petition, is issuing notification and acting without cause of any reason in order to mala fidely avoid operation of the court’s stay order issued on April 8”. The court was requested to proceed against the alleged individuals for violating the court orders.

Federal Minister of State – Saira Afzal Tarar, Prof Dr Ghaiasuddin Butt – Chairman Managing Committee, Dr Jehanzaib Aurakzai – Director General NHS, Naqeebullah Achakzai, along with other members; Mohammad Kashifur Rehman, Professor Abdul Bari, Dr Faisal Sultan, Dr Baseer Khan Achakzai and Dr Shabbir Ahmed were named as alleged contemnors in the application.

The SHC’s division bench headed by Chief Justice Maqbool Baqar issued notices to alleged contemnors for May 2.

The reports further state that; The petitioner submitted that the impugned ordinance, besides being illegal, unfair and mala-fide, was beyond the competence of the federal government, and was also in violation of the provisions of Article 154 of the Constitution. The Article 154 prescribes the functions of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) created in terms of Article 153 of the Constitution, the function being formulation and regulation of policies in relation to the matter enumerated in Part-II of the Federal Legislative Lists. Besides, the council was also ordained to exercise supervision and control over related institutions.

The petitioner further stated that: A cursory glance at the PMDC Ordinance would clearly show that the PMDC was a regulatory authority established under a federal law that regulates medical profession and the basic higher education in medicine and dentistry and therefore, in terms of Article 154 the matter relating and/or ancillary to PMDC falls clearly within the domain of the CCI. However, he added, the federal government, without even giving any explanation, and without consulting either of the federating units, bypassing the CCI and even the parliament, has purportedly promulgated the impugned ordinance, which was in violation of the Constitution, illegal, ultra-vires and amounts to usurpation of the rights and privileges of the federating units, and disenfranchised all the members of medical profession.

April 28, 2014

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