ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Association of Private Medical and Dental Institutions (PAMI) recently held a press conference at National Press Club. The event was chaired by Khaqan Waheed Khuwaja, PAMI General Secretary.
During the press conference, Khuwaja admitted that the draft of Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) ordinance was shared with PAMI by the government before its promulgation. He assured that medical colleges had no plans to increase the fees beyond Rs9,50,000 per annum.
PAMI General Secretary further said that the Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) Ordicance was only shared. The criticism being hurled at PAMI was not right. As no opinion had ever been taken or given by PAMI to the government.
Recently, pictures of a meeting attended by representatives of private colleges chaired by Dr Nosherwan Burki, head of the Health Task Force was leaked on social media. The picture was taken after the promulgation of the PMC ordinance. Dr Burki could be seen addressing the meeting through Skype in the picture circulated on social media. Along with that, a Whatsapp chat was also leaked that showed medical college owners expressing pleasure that the ordinance was being promulgated.
Mr Khuwaja claimed that the government invited them to the meeting and shared a draft of the ordinance. He said, “In the past such drafts were never shared with us and that is why we had approached courts to address our concerns. Though the draft was shared with us this time, we did not propose any amendment to it and neither the government sought our opinion. Factually, the ordinance was imposed on us but it has created unnecessary criticism on PAMI and me.”
The general secretary said that to ensure improvement in the quality of education, the PMC ordinance was beneficial for medical education. He hoped that in future medical graduates would not face any difficulty while clearing the United States medical licensing examination for further education and practice in the US.
The issue of curriculum and examinations was earlier the job of dissolved PMDC. But now, Higher Education Commission (HEC) would look into.
In response to a question, General Secretary said that the dismissal of 220 employees of the PMDC was not right and he urged the government to adjust them in other departments.
Responding to a question regarding the demands of additional fees Rs300,000 from students, Khuwaja said that it was hostel fee and five per cent withholding tax on fees. Parents can obtain certificate of withholding tax from the colleges and get it reimbursed from the Federal Board of Revenue.
It is important to mention that President Dr Arif Alvi promulgated the PMC ordinance to dissolve Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC). This paved the way for establishment of a new organisation namely PMC. Despite being an off day, the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) sealed the building of the PMDC and terminated the services of its 220 employees.