Two more members shown the door as council decides go ahead with colleges’ inspection PMDC appoints new registrar, director finance; abolishes employees’ health allowance

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Zubair Qureshi

After withdrawal of two eminent members—Dr Shoaib Shah and Dr Slman Jaffar—late Tuesday, two more members were de-notified from the Pakistan Medical & Dental Council (PM&DC) on Wednesday namely, Dr Muslim Khan (KP) and Dr Khalid Usman (Punjab) just hours before the crucial meeting of the council raising many eyebrows as to what had compelled the government to remove four out of the 17 members of the council in one night.
Interestingly, these members were removed from the council at a time when the council was going to take some ‘big’ decisions in its 200th meeting like appointment of new Registrar and Director Finance, inspection of medical colleges.
In the 199th meeting of the council on July 1, 2019, it was recommended by the outgoing members that all these appointments and inspection process be made transparent and on the basis of merit.
However, they were sent packing just before the crucial meeting that took place Wednesday and the council sans 4 members appointed Brig (R) Dr Hafeezuddin Siddiqui as Registrar and Wajid Ali Shah as Director Finance.
Another important decision the council took was abolition of health allowance for its employees that is equal to their basic salary.
While giving justification, President of the PMDC Dr Tariq Bhutta said AGPR had raised audit para over health allowance as how the employees who are already receiving medical allowance could be eligible for health allowance.
“We had no other option but to comply,” he said.
The council has also decided to start inspection of 167 medical and dental colleges (104 private and 63 from public sector) w.e.f July 28 and complete it within one month, he said.
While talking to Pakistan Observer a former member of the council raised serious questions over inspection of colleges said the way the PMDC was going to complete it was quite dubious.
“We, my colleagues and I, had demanded of the council to produce the names of the members of the inspection teams as by virtue of our being members of the council we were supposed to ensure transparence and merit on the names.
But we were not given the names of the inspection teams, instead some mysterious hands got us removed” he said.
These members of the council in its July 1 meeting had raised questions on inspectors appointed for inspections flouting all the regulations of inspection criteria to oblige some medical colleges “but the members backed by powerful medical mafia got us removed before July 17 meeting,” he further said. Now these inspection teams after visit would categorize the medical colleges and award them A, B and C and as a result those medical colleges that were earlier disallowed registration for lack of facilities or for not meeting the criteria would be registered, he further alleged. According to PMDC President Dr Bhutta the government has nominated two members against the two seats vacated Tuesday. They are Dr Shehnaz Nawaz and Lt Gen (R) Azhar Rashid. Now we are short of only two members, he said.