Even three weeks after the issuance of an ordinance, the federal government has failed to form the highest decision-making body at the regulator for medical and dental education and practice.
The notification of its members is to be followed by the election of the Council’s president and vice-president within a fortnight.
However, all that exercise has been stuck in limbo due to the bureaucratic red tape.
Officials at the National Health Services and Regulations Ministry, which oversees the PMDC, blame the delay on the Balochistan and Sindh governments insisting they have yet to name representatives for the Council.
They, however, keep their fingers crossed that the provincial governments will do the needful next week and thus, leading to the formation of the Council.
The officials said once the provinces and other organisations’ nominations reached the ministry, a summary would be put up the prime minister and cabinet for the approval of the proposed Council.
The ordinance empowers the Council to approve strategic plans and financial resource development plans of PMDC; develop accreditation standards for medical and dental educational programmes and assessment of international graduates for registration in Pakistan; assess and recognise medical and dental institutions; examine cases for the recognition of new medical and dental specialties, and advise federal and provincial governments on requests for grant of charter to award medical and dental degrees.
Under the law, the government is to get the Parliament’s consent to the ordinance within four months of its promulgation and if it fails to do so, then an extension of another four months will be required through the passage of a resolution by the National Assembly.
Before the issuance of the PMDC, 2019, an ad-hoc council formed by former Supreme Court chief justice Saqib Nisar and headed by former apex court judge Shakirullah Jan had managed the affairs of the regulator for a year.
Created after the then elected Council was thrown out by the court for functioning under the lapsed PMDC (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015, the interim setup was told to work until the new Council was in place.
Currently, many key PMDC positions are lying vacant. Noted among them are the president, vice-president and secretary’s. The important registrar post is also held by a junior woman officer on an ad hoc basis. As there is a high likelihood of a major reshuffle in the organisation after the election of the president, hopefuls are seen lobby hard to get their cases struck a chord with those who matter in the current political dispensation.