After disapproval by Senate’s subcommittee, fate of PMDC Ordinance 2019 hangs in balance Serious questions raised over inspection process of medical, dental colleges

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Zubair Qureshi
Senate’s subcommittee on Health in a recent meeting held to review the Pakistan Medical & Dental Council (PMDC) Ordinance 2019 unanimously termed the ordinance almost identical to the 1962 ordinance of the PMDC thus liable to be rejected.
The sub-committee members Senator Dr Ashok Kumar, Senator Dr Asad Ashraf and Senator Dr Sikandar Mandhro after examining the proposed ordinance section by section has recommended to the Senate’s Standing Committee not to pass PMDC ordinance 2019 and instead the government may introduce in the Parliament to amend the PMDC ordinance of 1962 if it so requires.
The committee meeting that was also attended by Senator Muhammad Javed Abbasi and Senator Ghous Muhammad Khan Niazi on special invitation was of the view there was no need of repealing PMDC Ordinance of 1962 as all accreditations and recognitions gained by PMDC in the world were on the basis of the PMDC Ordinance 1962. The committee has also observed that after promulgation of the new ordinance, all accreditation processes will have to be re-initiated under the new law which will take decades and prove detrimental to the PMDC as Pakistan’s sole medical regulatory authority and thus affect the job prospects of the Pakistani doctors across the world.
The committee has also noted that PMDC was gaining strength internationally and in 2012-13, even the United States declared the accreditation and educational standards of PMDC as equivalent to the accreditation and educational standards of the United States. This leaves no room for the new ordinance replacing the old PMDC ordinance, observes the committee.
The sub-committee noted with concern that all laws of the PMDC which was the backbone of medical profession since 1962 was suddenly replaced by a new ordinance 2019 creating a lot of confusion for the international regulatory and accreditation bodies.
The committee while quoting the relevant articles about re-promulgation of an ordinance held “Re-promulgation of ordinances especially when the earlier ones were either not approved or disapproved by the Parliament is a fraud on the Constitution,” and thus has no justification.
Meanwhile, the sources told Pakistan Observer that the Senate’s sub-committee also expressed serious reservations over affairs of PMDC particularly handling of the confidential database of ongoing inspections of Medical/ Dental Colleges being kept by a private hospital (Shifa Hospital). This raised serious questions over transparency and outcome of the inspections, observed it.
The sources told that the evaluation committee of PMDC somehow managed to cover up the serious violation they had committed by calling all conveners to PMDC and re write inspection reports.
According to sources, no rules were followed during the inspections conducted by PMDC and there are serious reservations over constitutional procedural gaps in ongoing inspections.
The Council has also questioned the same however two members are bent upon continuing with the inspections which have now become the most controversial inspections in the history of the organization.