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PMDC poll winner yet to be notified

KARACHI, Sept 12: Doctors and medical students in the city have criticised the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) for a delay in the notification of the name of a member elected from the constituency of registered medical practitioners of Sindh in its official gazette.

Polls for the election of a member each from the constituencies of registered medical practitioners of Sindh and registered dental practitioners of Sindh and Balochistan were held on August 6, 2007, while the election committee of the PMDC formally declared the names of the candidates, who secured the highest number of votes in the two categories, on Aug 7.

According to the official results, Dr Shershah Syed from the medical practitioners' constituency and Dr Navaid Rashid from the dental practitioners' constituency were declared elected to the PMDC.

Dr Habibur-ur-Rehman Soomro, General-Secretary of the Pakistan Medical Association, Central, said that despite the passage of about five weeks, the PMDC had failed to notify the results in the case of doctors elected to the council from Sindh.

"In view of the correspondence between me and the PMDC, the federal health ministry and other key figures in the federal government, I assume that the delay was being made for no valid reason," said Dr Soomro, adding that dillydallying tactics were being applied for the sake of some vested interests.

When contacted, a Karachi-based senior office-bearer of the PMDC said that the notification of the names of the Sindh-based successful candidates had been suspended in view of the fact that one of the candidates had disputed the results given by the PMDC election committee at Karachi on Aug 7.

Polling problems

Interviews revealed that one of the contesting doctors had approached the office of the director-general of health in Islamabad, disputing the results on the plea that the "election committee failed to include the ballots which were posted about two years back (2005) when the elections in question were held, but were postponed at some later stage and finally termed invalid."

"Polls were again held after a period of over two years in Aug 2007, in the light of a court directive," said a doctor privy to the elections.

"The polling was conducted at nine centres throughout the province, in addition to ballots received through post afresh under the new schedule of examinations. The candidates of the elections in question were the same as the elections of 2005," added the doctor.

It was learnt that during the process of centralised counting of votes that numbered about 2,500 -- including the postal ballots -- one of the candidates from outside Karachi had requested the election committee to also count the postal ballots which were received in 2005.

However, the election committee did not approve the plea and considered the votes that were cast under the new schedule only and issued the results officially, said a source.

In the absence of any notification of Dr Shershah Syed's name in the PMDC gazette, different doctors' forums, including the College of Family Medicine Pakistan, PMA, and young medical graduates of the city have expressed their concern over the issue and demanded of the government as well as the president and the prime minister to intervene and take notice of all such elements who want to create a misunderstanding between the government and medical professionals.

"It is a known fact that Dr Shershah Syed won the election and the same was declared by the election supervising committee of the PMDC. The copy was received by candidates who contested the election. Now some vested interests want to delay the announcement regarding Dr Shershah," said Dr Aziz Tank, President of the CFMP.

"The assistant director-general of health has sent me a letter from Islamabad recently for the purpose of information, without indicating what he or the PMDC's secretary is going to do next," said Dr Soomro.

"Objections from all sides have already been addressed by the PMDC committee under the rules and as such the council has got no valid reason to delay the notification of the names of Dr Shershah and Dr Navaid as elected members to the council," he added. Dawn
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