Despite more than two and a half months since its establishment, the Pakistan Medical & Dental Council (PMDC) has not been activated and its council members have not been appointed. At present the entire PMDC is being run by an assistant registrar.
The Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) came to an end when, on January 12, President Dr Arif Alvi signed the bill to promulgate the PMDC Act, which was then gazetted on January 20. The Act states that the council must be formed within 60 days. Several council members are ex officio members.
Among them are four provincial health secretaries, the federal health secretary, the surgeon general of the armed forces, and an elected member of the College of Physicians & Surgeons Pakistan.
They also include three licensed medical practitioners nominated by the prime minister, with at least a 15-year experience of outstanding merit and not being a vice chancellor, dean, principal or administrator, or owner or shareholder of a medical or dental university, college or hospital.
Three members of the civil society will be nominated by the PM on the recommendations of the minister in charge of the relevant division, with one member being a philanthropist, one belonging to the legal profession and one being a chartered accountant.
The PMDC president will be selected by the PM on the advice of the relevant ministry. Thus, the right of doctors to choose their representatives in the PMDC has completely ended, and the PMDC has become a sub-department of the Ministry of Health.
During the previous era of the PMDC, which was abolished during the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s rule, doctors used to choose their own representatives. While the current government has restored the PMDC, its democratic spirit has been completely abolished.
Lawyers and engineers have the right to choose their own representatives in their respective councils, but in the case of the PMDC, this right has been handed over to the government.
The News has learnt that following the publication of a formal advertisement, Federal Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel conducted interviews of candidates for the post of PMDC president as well as for council members.
According to sources, Dr Amjad Siraj Memon is being considered for the post of PMDC president. Dr Memon already holds the charge of VC at two universities in Karachi, and his appointment at one of the universities has been challenged in court.