By Our Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD – Citing examples of terminations, demotions and transfers in the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) in the last couple of months, employees of the council have accused the incumbent management of following into the footsteps of former management.
However, PMDC President Dr Shabir Lehri says: “Terminations, demotions and transfers are done only on merit and after taking members of the council on board.”
The former management of the council, which was run by Dr Asim Hussein, was criticized for not doing enough for addressing health issues and for spending most of its time in making transfers and postings. The former management was often accused of refusing suggestions made by the Ministry of Health Services (NHS). A number of court cases were also filed against the council for sacking employees and Dr Hussein was also faced with charges of corruption worth Rs 400 billion.
Major steps that had to be taken were ignored including acting on a Supreme Court notice which directed for the reservation of 50 pc of beds in private hospitals which were affiliated with colleges for patients that were to be treated free of charge. Though this was to be done in 2012, the order is being implemented now.
Ismail Fazal, an accounts officer, said that he had obtained a stay order from the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against his transfer under the wedlock policy but the current management had handed him a back-dated termination letter instead.
“The former management was targeting me because I refused to approve almost 300 cases. Corruption cases were also registered against me, all of which were rejected by the courts and I started working here again,” he said.
Mr Fazal said he has witnessed a similar trend with the current management.
“Even with the new management, I would insist on the implementation of the law because of which I started facing problems and on May 4, a transfer order was given to me which said I should report in Quetta,” he said.
He added that because his wife is a government employee in Islamabad, he cannot be transferred to another station under the Wedlock Policy.
“I tried convincing the management and gave them examples of the many employees who were not transferred because of the Wedlock Policy, but they told me I still have to report in Quetta,” he said.
Mr Fazal filed a writ petition in IHC and on May 17 and the court issued a stay order under the Wedlock Policy which he received in writing on May 19.
“I went to PMDC but the officers there said they had been directed by the management to not receive it. I was summoned to the registrar’s office at 2 pm and was handed a termination letter dated 16th May,” he said.
“It is strange they would not receive the notice because even on May 17 a lawyer for the council was in court and instead of submitting a termination order, he was defending the transfer,” he said.
Ismail is not the only employee who has faced issues with the management.
Another official at the council said that PMDC Additional Registrar Shaista Faisal has been demoted to Deputy Registrar and that a notice of last warning was issued to her when she requested a two-day leave.
He listed off other officials who were demotes, sacked or transferred: “Dr Rashid Anjum was demoted from Additional Secretary to Deputy Secretary, Dr Imadad Khushk was transferred to Peshawar for having close links with the former management, Khalid Bashir was demoted from Acting Deputy Registrar to Registration Officer and was transferred to Lahore and there are many others”.
When asked, Dr Lehri said that whoever wants to continue working at the council will have to follow orders.
“It is unfortunate that whoever is transferred says that the action was not fair. In the past officers were transferred for the wrong reasons but we took all decisions according to the law and after consulting members of the council,” he said.
When asked about Ismail, Dr Lehri said Ismail had in court said that the council was illegal as the presidential ordinance had lapsed.
“I still did not want to sack him but I received court orders to do so due to which his services were terminated,” he said.
Secretary Ministry of NHS Ayub Sheikh said that the presidential order through which the current council was established had empowered the ministry to intervene when a PMDC employee complains but because the ordinance had lapsed, the old one had been invoked under which the ministry cannot intervene.