PESHAWAR: The health department has planned to construct Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Medical College. Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto had announced construction of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Medical College (ZABMC) in Peshawar in 1990 but the plan couldn’t be materialised despite rule of PPP for three tenures since then.
The plot of 30 Kanals on which ZABMC will be constructed was originally allotted to it by the government, but later given to a Karachi-based charity Indus Foundation in addition to 70 more Kanals for construction of a hospital in the previous year. This was done so because there had been little progress on the project until that time period.
According to officials, the government decided to set up the college in Education City, planned in Regi Model Town (RMT), for which summary had also been sent to the government.
About three months ago, the provincial government cancelled the agreement inked with Indus Foundation owing to slow pace of work on the project because Health Department thought that it was not possible to complete the project within 10 years, let alone its completion in three years as pledged by the foundation.
The cancellation of the agreement again created hopes for the long-delayed ZABMC as health department wants to allot the stipulated land back to the college. “A summary in this regard has already been sent to the chief minister for approval,” said officials.
They said that a five-member project directorate of ZABMC was making efforts to get the land back for the college.
Prof Mohammad Zubair Khan, the project director of ZABMC, informed media that they had requested the government to allow construction of the college on the same plot after cancellation of agreement with Indus Foundation.
Prof Zubair said that Regi Model Town was away from the city and in the development stage. He said that the plot in Regi Model Town could be utilised for some other educational purpose.
“We have also proposed to the government to provide us a rented building where classes can be started as we will need hospital at a later stage when the students reach fourth year,” said Prof Zubair. He said that government had notified Lady Reading Hospital as the affiliated hospital for ZABMC long ago.
He said that Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC), regulator of medical education in the country, required a 500-bed hospital for recognition of the medical college.
Prof Mukhtiar Zaman Afridi, the medical director of LRH, informed that they has a 1,750-bed hospital where about 30 specialties worked. He said ZABMC would have no issue in recognition by PMDC. “We need a medical college for our hospital because our province needs more doctors to cater to the needs of the population,” he added.
“During the past one year, we have recruited 30 specialists, who have 10 to 15 years’ experience of working abroad because we want to introduce new disciplines in medical sciences and provide better healthcare to the people,” he said.