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PTI MNAs and PMDC battle over private medical colleges

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A public warning by the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) that 12 private medical colleges in the country were “substandard” has pitched two Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf MNAs and the regulatory PMDC in a court battle and brought in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) sniffing the mess.

MNAs Nasir Khan Khattak, Dr Mohammad Azhar Khan Jadoon are members of the National Assembly’s standing committee on national health services and regulations, and the medical colleges they run in Peshawar and Abbottabad respectively are among the 12.

After MNA Khattak filed FIR, charging the PMDC president and others with forgery, with the Secretariat police on February 1, President Prof Masood Hameed approached the Islamabad High Court on behalf of the PMDC and others for quashing the FIR “registered illegally at the behest of two MNAs”.

Last Thursday, the IHC ordered the Secretariat police to reply to the allegation as the petitioner said it “pertains to Karachi where another FIR is registered with Police Station Memon Goth, based on the same set of allegations”. Accordingly, the Secretariat police have sought details of the Gazette Notification of the election of Prof Masood Hameed and PMDC offices and Council members from the Printing Corporation of Pakistan office in Karachi. MNA Khattak has challenged the position of Prof Masood Hameed and others in the PMDC, and by implication their administrative actions.

Prof Masood Hameed claims the notification of his election as president of the PMDC was forwarded to the Printing Corporation of Pakistan, which published it but was later withdrawn under pressure from the two MNAs.

The IHC ordered that pre-admission notice be issued to the respondents “for submission of report/parawise comments within fortnight.”

Accordingly, the Islamabad police have asked the Printing Corporation of Pakistan Press Karachi to establish the fact about the gazette notification regarding the PMDC set up published in 2013.

In reporting the alleged “fraud and forgery” by the PMDC set up to the Secretariat police against that set up, MNA Nasir Khan Khattak stated that as MNA “I inquire about the status of PMDC if the president, vice-president and the executive committee (of the PMDC) were notified in the official gazette of Pakistan. In response, the government categorically stated that they had not been accepted and notified in the official gazette of Pakistan.

“On January 10, it came to my knowledge through the official website of PMDC that the president, vice-president and executive committee are notified and a gazette notification itself was posted,” he stated, adding the Printing Corporation of Pakistan replied that it never printed the notification.

According to him, the PMDC submitted the same “fake” gazette notification to the standing committee on health on January 28.

On January 31, the PMDC petitioned the IHC against the Printing Corporation of Pakistan Islamabad, Deputy Controller (stationery and forms) Government of Pakistan Karachi, MNA Dr Mohammad Azhar Khan Jadoon and MNA Nasir Khan Khattak.

The PMDC sources said the notification was published in the gazette’s chapter VI. According to the Printing Press Law, notice issued by cooperate bodies and private individuals are published in chapter VI but the MNA has a view that it got published in the gazette’s chapter IV.

They said if required the PMDC would produce its correspondence with the Printing Corporation about publishing the notification in the chapter VI.

They alleged the two MNAs were after the PMDC for declaring their Al-Riaz Medical College in Peshawar and the Women Medical College in Abbottabad substandard. Since the PMDC published the names of the substandard private medical colleges to warn potential students, the National Accountability Bureau was also investigating them as the colleges continue to offer admission to unwary students.

When contacted, MNA Jadoon told Dawn that no notification could be published in the gazette until the ministry concerned issued it.

He said a year back the PMDC got an ordinance promulgated from the then president to disband the council of PMDC and set up an executive committee to look after the authority. The executive committee members, which were responsible to conduct an election, nominated and then declared themselves as elected.

Later, the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination asked the members to stop working as there was no notification issued about their election, he said.

The committee prepared a forged gazette and produced it before the standing committees of the Senate and the National Assembly. When this came into the knowledge of MNA Khattak, he got a forgery case registered against them.

“In response, one of the committee members also got registered a case against us in Karachi,” MNA Jadoon added.

He said the IHC had ordered status quo on the petition of the PMDC and its president against the registration of the FIR against them.

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