KARACHI: The composition of the ad hoc committee set up by the Supreme Court to look after the affairs of defunct Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) has attracted ‘criticism’ from experts.
Experts expressed surprise that while the court had notified senior most teachers either heading medical universities or medical colleges (from other provinces) on the ad hoc body, “it did not nominate any relevant seasoned person from Sindh”.
Experts said that the member the court had notified from Sindh was not qualified to be part of the PMDC body and as such the province had been deprived of the opportunity to present its case in the body.
“It’s very unfortunate that Sindh which has 11, the highest number of medical universities and colleges in the private and public sector, in the country has no representation on the body,” said PMA secretary general Dr Qaisar Sajjad.
He explained that the PMDC’s job was to regulate medical education, medical teaching institutions and practices. “Hence, a relevant person on the body would be one who has been engaged as a teacher/researcher with a medical university or medical college and not a hospital administrator as has been done,” he said.
A hospital administrator, he pointed out, was no body to talk on the issues pertaining to medical education and teaching.
“Presently, medical education and teaching face plethora of issues and matters would further deteriorate if decisions were not taken with transparency,” Dr Sajjad noted.
Tariq Sohail heading the Pakistan Association of Private Medical and Dental Institutions (PAMI) also described “nomination of a non-relevant person on the PMDC body as unfortunate”.
He said: “A relevant person would be a senior teacher either heading a medical college or medical university as has been done in the case of other province.”
Members of the ad-hoc council
The court stated in the issued notification that the council would comprise of Mr Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan, former judge of this court as chairman, attorney general of Pakistan (member) or in case of non-availability his nominee/representative, federal secretary health, Islamabad (member), surgeon general of the Pakistan Armed Forces (member), vice chancellor of the National University of Medical Sciences (member), vice chancellor of the University of Health Sciences Lahore (member), executive director of the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), Karachi (member), vice chancellor of the Khyber Medical University, Peshawar (member) and principal of the Bolan Medical College, Quetta (member).
Dr Seemin Jamali, currently holding the post of executive director of the JPMC, attended first meeting of the body as member from Sindh.
According to experts, the JPMC, a major public-sector hospital in Karachi, doesn’t fall in the category of ‘medical institution’ within the meaning of PMDC ordinance, 1962.
The health facility neither trains medical students, nor grants any degrees, diploma or licenses in medicine. Moreover, the post of the JPMC executive director is a non-teaching administrative post at a hospital.
According to Prof Azam Hussain Yousfani, the Vice Chancellor of Shaheed Benazir University of Medicine and Health Science in Nawabshah, “We were thinking that Prof Tariq Rafi heading the Jinnah Sindh Medical University (JSMU) had been notified as a member from Sindh.”
Prof Lubna Baig, the pro vice chancellor at JSMU, shared similar sentiments. She said: “The JSMU is the largest public sector medical university in Sindh and the second largest in the country, given its high student enrolment. It’s regretting that this great institution has been completely ignored.”