SC forms adhoc panel to operate PMDC

By Shakeel Ahmed

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Friday ordered for the creation of an 11-member ad hoc committee to run the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC). The orders were given in a case pertaining to a petition filed by the government, seeking removal of the PMDC registrar. Justice Ijazul Ahsan read out the short order, reserved on Wednesday, in court today.
According to the order, the committee will be headed by retired justice of the Supreme Court, Ejaz Afzal Khan. Members of the council will include the Attorney General of Pakistan, the Surgeon General of Pakistan, vice chancellor of National University of Medical Services, vice chancellor of University of National Health Services, vice chancellor of Sindh Jinnah Medical University, vice chancellor Khyber Medical University, vice chancellor of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Medical University, vice chancellor of Bolan Medical University and principal of de’Montmorency College of Dentistry.
The court also discarded a contempt of court application filed by PMDC employees against the government for not following the Islamabad High Court verdict of Feb 11, in which the court had restored the PMDC and set aside the presidential ordinance that had created an alternative body called the Pakistan Medical Council (PMC).
The PMDC was dissolved by a presidential ordinance promulgated on Oct 19, 2019, which paved the way for the establishment of the PMC. On Oct 20, the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS), despite strong opposition by PMDC employees, sealed the PMDC building and announced that the services of its 220 employees had been terminated and only class four employees would be retained.
However, on Feb 11, IHC declared the presidential ordinance null and void and restored PMDC along with the services of the sacked employees. Rather than implementing the decision, once again the health ministry sealed the building and stopped employees from entering it.
On the other hand, employees filed a contempt petition against the government in IHC. On March 30, a bench, comprising Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani, while hearing the contempt plea in the IHC gave one hour to the government to open the PMDC. On April 2, the ministry filed an application in the IHC stating that the appointment of the PMDC registrar was illegal and that he should be removed, which the court refused to do so.
On the other hand, the registrar also filed an application that even after a decision on the contempt application, the government did not implement the court decision. The ministry finally agreed to de-seal the PMDC building on April 7, but appealed to the SC against the IHC’s refusal to remove the council’s registrar.