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PMDC or Juma Bazaar of easy degrees

PMDC turning into a Juma Bazaar of easy degrees
Islamabad, July 27: The Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) has again been caught red handed while issuing fake registration to doctors and this time, the person who committed the crime has also been identified with all the evidence.

One Sarhad University imparting medical education at masters level (Master's of Public Health) since long was unable to get recognition from the PMDC because of many deficiencies in its faculty and infrastructure. However, all these difficulties vanished on April 18, 2012, the day Ms Firdous Ashiq Awan became federal minister of a newly established ministry of 'National Regulations and Services', which was supposed to control many 'gold-mines', including the regulator of medical education in the country-PMDC.

In a shocking revelation, a doctor who got the degree admitted that though his was the first case of registration with PMDC but after his recognition many other students of the same university were registered for the same programme by the present PMDC management.

The closed case of this University, based in Peshawar, was reopened and the master's programme of Public Health offered at one of its Islamabad Campus was "recognised" by the PMDC. The Supreme Court ordered the FIA in the last week of June to investigate corruption of billions of rupees allegedly committed by Ms Firdous by manoeuvrings matters in the drug regulatory authority and by recognising fake medical colleges.

To save whatever was done during her tenure in the ministry and its attached departments, the former minister, in collaboration with an ex-adviser having big interests in the private medical education sector, got favoured officials appointed in the PMDCand drug related authorities, so they could manage to hide or cover up mega corruption done during all this period. A presidential ordinance was managed to be issued in February 2013 to appoint one Dr Raja Amjad Mehmood as chief (administrator) of the PMDC. The wonderful and clean PLM-N government has reappointed the same Dr Raja Amjad Mehmood as registrar in blatant violation of Islamabad High Court's orders.

Dr Farrukh Kamal, a medico-legal officer at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) got admission in 2008 in Sarhad University, Peshawar (Islamabad Campus), in Master's of Public Health (MPH), a two-years degree programme. Dr Farrukh completed his course work in mid 2010 and also completed his thesis. However, as the PMDC rejected the case of recognition of this university's degree because of many deficiencies, no PMDC registration could be issued to Dr Kamal and his classfellows.

However, after Dr Firdous tenure in the ministry and thanks to the efforts of the ex-adviser, the university finally got recognition on June 14, 2012. According to a well-planned strategy, "important students" of this university re-submitted their thesis after the university was recognized by Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan.

However, even after this clever move, the PMDC registration of these doctors was not possible as the law requires that for registration, the course work must have been completed in the duration for which the said institution was recognised by PMDC. In this case, coursework was completed in 2010 while the university was recognized in June 2012. It is yet another separate story that during the time Dr Farrukh used to attend classes as per record of this university, he was also on duty as per the record of PIMS.

When Dr Farrukh applied for the registration of his master's degree in the PMDC as his university got recognition, as it was illegal, the then registrar rejected the request of registration through letter No PF PGQ.12-F-2013 (19384-P)15432 by declaring that "the study and the degree is of a time where the institute was not recognized in terms of Section 16 of the PM&DC Ordinance 1962 and so, it cannot be registered." Farrukh was very close to the then powerful adviser of the government, and the adviser had also called the then registrar to register his degree, but the 'order', being illegal, was ignored.

Later, according to the usual game-plan in such cases, Dr Farrukh moved the IHC and sought his PMDC registration. The IHC summoned comments from the PMDC. As it was completely illegal and PMDC's ex-registrar had already rejected this registration on the basis of rules and regulations and comments were to be submitted before a high court, the PMDC in its reply submitted before the IHC, stated that registration was not possible because law did not permit the same.

The PMDC, in its reply, submitted before the IHC that the study period of Dr Farrukh Mehmood (2008 to 2010) was at a time when Sarhad University was not recognized. However, the PMDC added in the last para of its reply that petitioner's representation is pending before the Standing Recognition Committee of PMDC. After the categorical PMDC response that registration of Dr Farrukh's master's degree was not possible under law, the IHC disposed of the petition on April 4, 2013, with the directions that the Standing Recognition Committee should decide the representation within one month.

Dr Amjad Mehmood, who was chief (administrator) of PMDC and was controlling the said Standing Recognition Committee, immediately registered Dr Farrukh's fake degree and this has become first big case of "fake registration of doctors" during the new government.

Dr Farrukh Kamal said that he gave one exam and submitted his thesis after the recognition of his university. He admitted that he got admission back in 2008 in a two-year degree programme but argued that degrees often take more time as prescribed in the programme.

Asked if it was true that more time was consumed to complete degrees in some instances but under the law, for the PMDC registration, coursework had to be completed in the duration in which the said university was recognized by the council, Dr Farrukh insisted that if degree completion date mentioned is after recognition of the university then it is fine.

Dr Farrukh said that PMDC recognised Sarhad University on July 12, 2011, and the ministry gave final approval on June 14, 2012, and it is the decision of the PMDC executive committee to register any student who completed his degree after July 12, 2011.

In his revelation, Dr Farrukh admitted that though his was the first case of registration with PMDC but after his recognition many other students of the same university were registered for the same programme by the present PMDC management.

Conveniently, those who got registration of this fake degree also include close relatives of the top PMDC officials.

Will the PML-N government order a probe and arrest the person engineered this fake doctor's registration remains to be seen. It is important to mention that The News had reported registration of some 13 fake doctors by PMDC on February 24, 2013, and despite the fact that police has concluded its investigations, not a single person involved in this crime against humanity has been arrested so far.

Dr Raja Amjad Mehmood, former administrator and presently working as PMDC registrar said that he was not responsible for the recognition of Sarhad University and that it was recognized by his predecessors. "I could not be held responsible for recognition of Sarhad University," Dr Raja Amjad said.

According to documents, available with the PMDC, "he has completed his degree" after the recognition of the university.Asked about the documents present in the PMDC record, which showed that Dr Farrukh had taken admission in a two-year degree course in 2008 and completed his course work in 2010 and that by only re-submitting the thesis after recognition of the university, he was not fulfilling the basic requirement, Dr Raja Amjad said in a somewhat threatening tone: "You are working against me. I will bring evidence against you on record at an appropriate time."

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PMDC rebuts fake degrees report, blames IHC
Islamabad: The Pakistan Medical and Dental Counsel (PMDC) has issued a 'rebuttal' in response to report on the fake degrees registration scandal and has unjustifiably put the whole blame of the scam on the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

A press release by the PMDC on Friday says: "The PMDC Registrar Dr Raja Amjad Mehmood has strongly denied the news while saying that the facts have been twisted and a crafted news has been published without any confirmation from the concerned organisation i.e. Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PM&DC).

Clarifying the PM&DC stance regarding the allegations about the Sarhad University masters level (Masters of Public Health) programme, Dr Amjad said that Sarhad University Islamabad campus was inspected on 12th September 2011 by the honourable inspector Prof Dr Akbar Khan Afridi commissioned by the president PM&DC. As per the criteria and procedure of the council recognition, the Postgraduate Medical Education Committee has considered the inspection report and recommended the SU Islamabad Campus MPH programme on 24th September 2011 and it was dully approved by council in its subsequent meeting.

It is pertinent to mention here that the same was notified by the Ministry of National Health Regulations and Services on June 14, 2012 approving the programme as 'as and when granted on 12th July 2011'.

Dr Raja Amjad further said that the case of Farrukh Kamal, (as described wrongly in the news report by Mr Ahmed Noorani), was regretted by the council for his postgraduate qualification of MPH in the programme prior to the date of recognition. However, the Islamabad High Court, while hearing the petition filed by Farrukh Kamal, has directed the council 'to dispose of the representation/appeal of the petitioner expeditiously within the period of one month'. The matter was taken up by the executive committee in its meeting held on 6th May, 2013 wherein the executive committee 'decided to comply with the decision of the honourable Islamabad High Court, Islamabad in the light of the notification of the Ministry of National Health Services and Regulations to register those degree holders who obtained degrees as and when granted on or after 12th July 2011'. Dr Raja Amjad Mehmood added."

Ahmad Noorani adds: PMDC 'rebuttal' simply repeats the facts given in The News story and acknowledges all corruption allegations. Nothing given in this PMDC statement is wrong except levelling the allegations and shifting the whole responsibility of this terrible scandal of Pakistan's medical history on the honourable IHC.

Through this act, the regulator of medical education in Pakistan, PMDC, has registered fake Masters level degrees of dozens of doctors who in fact had studied the courses years before the recognition of their private university by PMDC and the federal government.

As reproduced and confirmed in the PMDC statement, the IHC judgement had only ordered, "to dispose off the representation/appeal of the petitioner expeditiously within the period of one month". After ex-registrar of PMDC refused to register degree of Dr Farrukh for being not eligible, the latter filed an appeal in the PMDC and the quoted IHC order simply asks PMDC to decide that appeal and has not in any way given a verdict to recognise or not to recognise a fake degree. Whether the IHC will take notice of this allegation against it will become clear in the next few days.

According to the PMDC law, rules and regulations, only degrees of the students 'admitted' after recognition of a college or university could be registered. An institution recognised by PMDC but not approved by the federal government is 'a non-recognised institution'. In this case, Dr Farrukh and others took admission in 2008 in a two-year degree programme which was to be completed in 2010 whereas the university was recognised in June 2012.

Even Sarhad University (Islamabad Campus) has come on record and has stated that its Masters programme was recognized by HEC and was 'not recognised' by PMDC and all its students who took admission in 2008 and afterwards were aware of the fact as the said degree was for management purposes.

The Sarhad University further stated that it is also in its knowledge that degrees of its students who study courses before the date of its recognition from the PMDC could not be registered and PMDC management had conveyed the same to it.

Sarhad University also added in categorical words that issue of registration of degree of Dr Farrukh Mehmood is an issue between Dr Farrukh and PMDC (Dr Amjad Mehmood) and the Sarhad University had nothing to do with it.

Sarhad University further added that the Peshawar campus of the university is one of the best educational institutions for engineering and pharmaceutical education among the private sector universities. It adds that at Islamabad campus the degree of MPh was also recognised after fulfilment of all prerequisites in 2011 by PMDC and was approved by the federal government in June 2012.

It is important to add that PMDC statement only discusses registration of degree of one Dr Farrukh while The News story was about registration of many other old degrees which were illegally and fraudulently registered after registration of degree of Dr Farrukh using the name of IHC.

After the categorical statement by Sarhad University everything is clear and now it is for the PML-N's federal government and Federal Ministry of National Regulations and Services to act against the corrupt elements involved in this historic fraud and save the drowning repute of medical education in Pakistan which once was considered one of the best in the world. The news

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Extension in VC's tenure divides faculty in Gilgit varsity
Gilgit: The six months extension given to vice-chancellor of the Karakuram International University by President Asif Ali Zardari has resulted in divisions among faculty, ruining the educational environment of this newly established institution of higher learning in the region.

During a meeting called the other day for nominating two faculty members in the varsity senate turned into a battlefield as faculty members came to blows and hurled abuses at each other.

"It looked like we were not in a university rather in the parliament as the university staff has divided in favour and against the vice-chancellor Dr Najma Najam," said a faculty member after the meeting requesting not to be named.

Dr Najma has faced severe criticism over favouritism in recruitments and award of contracts.

Dr Najma was to complete her three-year tenure in June 2013. However, she was given a six-month extension.

Spokesman of the university Shahid Ali told this correspondent that the vice chancellor had recruited people without following proper procedure. However, he said those recruited were not her relatives and that all were retired faculty members who were hired to impart quality education to students.

The university spokesman said a search committee had been constituted to look for a suitable candidate for the vice-chancellor's post.

However, the anti-VC faculty members said the hired people were close friends of Dr Najma who were given undue favour. Dawn

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