ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on States and Frontier Regions (Safron) recently met at Parliament House. The meeting was headed by Committee chair Senator Taj Mohammad Afridi. Safron Secretary Aslam Kamboh was also present in the event. The Senate committee directed the government to prioritise the health and education needs in the tribal districts to bring the region at par with developed parts of the country.
Senator Taj Mohammad Afridi said health and education have been neglected in erstwhile Fata, the federally administered tribal areas, and the government must focus on the social and economic development of this region, which has now merged with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The Safron Ministry told the committee that the tribal districts have been allotted 4,048 seats in universities and colleges, of which 2,000 have been filled. The committee said the seats in government colleges and universities should be doubled and sought a list of universities that have not complied with the quota.
Additional seats were allocated for students from the tribal districts in 2017. Most departments doubled the quota after FATA was merged with KP, but the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) refused to do so on the grounds that medical and dental colleges have a certain number of seats according to provincial quotas and it was not possible to increase seats just for students from the tribal areas.
The Pakistan Medical Commission, which has replaced the PMDC, said that a decision has been made in this regard and applications will be sought from students from the tribal districts.
Safron Secretary assured the committee that its direction would be fulfilled.
A list of illegal appointments was submitted to the committee during a discussion on appointments made by the KP health department. Senators were told that some illegal appointments were made despite a ban, and officials were not found at their duty stations and were instead receiving salaries at home.
The committee said all such candidates needed to be terminated.