Pakistan Medical and Dental Council controversy

PMDC in grip of fresh controversy
Islamabad, June 10: Fresh controversy hounds Pakistan Medical and Dental Council, the regulator of medical education in the country, after the council administration charged its own secretary for blowing whistle on the scam involving malpractices in registration of doctors.

A charge-sheet issued by PMDC's acting president Mr Asim Hussain against Council's Secretary Sohail Karim Hashmi reads: "The secretary is also charged with writing letters to various (investigation) agencies without the permission of president/executive committee of the council."

Hashmi is believed to have disclosed to the FIA that his colleagues at PMDC had registered four Afghan nationals as doctors on fake letters from Foreign Office. Foreign doctors require consent of interior ministry or foreign office for getting a permission to practice in Pakistan.

PMDC is also facing allegations of registration of graduates from Central Asian countries, who had failed the mandatory National Examination Board exam to get the permission for practicing medicine.

In his detailed charge-sheet, he also accused the secretary of blocking development initiatives of the Council including a new website for which the developer had been paid Rs4 million. The website was to replace the previous Council's website that had cost Rs15,000.

The secretary is currently involved in a legal battle with PMDC administration against whom he has filed a contempt plea with the Supreme Court for not fully complying with reinstatement judgment.

Other charges in the new charge-sheet range from allegations of legal, financial and administrative irregularities, to committing acts of misconduct, negligence and violation of rules during his tenure as Secretary from 2001 to 2007.

The 12-point charge-sheet by PMDC further accuses Hashmi of disregarding High Court and Supreme Court orders pertaining to inspection of a private medical college and provisional recognition of certain institutes.

The secretary, who has already filed a reply to the allegations leveled by the Council said: "A similar charge-sheet was prepared against me back in 2007, but I vindicated my position".

In his reply, he also questioned the eligibility of Mr Asim Hussain as the acting president of the medical regulator and the competent authority to file charges against him.

He has also called for suspension of the proceedings against him pending the outcome of the contempt plea filed by him.

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'Black Day' observed in universities
Islamabad: The Academic Staff Association (ASA) of Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) on Wednesday observed strike to protest cuts in the higher education budget.

The strike was part of a black day announced by the Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA). Faculty members wore black armbands and held corner meetings in which they expressed their dismay at the apathy of the authorities concerned who, they said, always gave step-motherly treatment to education.

The academicians regretted that with the recent cut many ongoing projects in various universities of Pakistan would be closed.

They demanded of the federal government to increase the overall budget for education up to five per cent and allocate at least 60 per cent of the total proposed budget for higher education.

The ASA members expressed full confidence in FAPUASA and vowed to fully support it in its efforts to improve education standards and ameliorate faculty members' lot.

They pointed out that in Pakistan the overall allocation for education was not even half of the five per cent of the GDP which was minimum spending set by Unesco for a country.

They said spending on education was in fact investment in future and was considered development expenditure the world over, whereas in Pakistan development allocation for education faced maximum cuts.

Meanwhile, the Academic Staff Association of the Alama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) also observed black day. The academicians of the varsity boycotted the classes for four hours.

The academicians of the varsity showed strong resentment against budgetary cut of universities. They pointed out that the scope of higher education was at its peak during the last eight years but after the budget there would be a drastic decline in the graph.

The Alama Iqbal Open University staff association president Dr Iqbal Shah pointed out that the HEC model was now replicated by the Indian Ministry of Human Resource Development but in Pakistan it had become low on government priority.

The association vice-president, Dr Shabbir Ahmad, termed the recent budgetary cut as 'brutal murder of higher education' in the country. Dawn

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Private schools still open in defiance of CM's orders
Rawalpindi: Defying the Punjab chief minister's orders regarding summer vacation, private schools and colleges in the city are still open forcing young children to bear the brunt of scorching heat of June.

All government schools have announced summer vacation from June 7 to August 14, but private institutions are still open and violating the orders. The education department has also failed to implement the government orders in private institutions.

Parents said that they have stopped sending their children to school because of the scorching heat. They complained that the school administrations were forcing them to send children to schools, as they have to complete the courses. The parents urged the education department to take action against the administrations of private schools and force them to close their schools for summer vacation.

Rab Nawaz, a father, said that all government schools have announced summer vacation but private schools are still open. "My children are studying in a private school, which is open, but I have stopped sending them to their schools because of the heat."

He said that the education department should take notice against the administrations of private schools. He said that it is the responsibility of the education department to force all private schools to obey the government orders.

EDO (Education) Malik Ashraf was not available to give his version on the issue. The news

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PU housing panel okays 'allotments'
Lahore: The Punjab University Employees Housing Society (PUEHS) management committee met here on Wednesday and approved the decisions of its sub-committee regarding allotment of plots to the recommended but pending cases of certain applicants.

The PUEHS subcommittee had on June 2 allotted plots to Mobeen Ahmad, Law College in-charge (principal) Shazia Noreen Qureshi, additional registrar Dr Aurangzeb Alamgir, Muhammad Shahzad, Sadia Shahzad and Ziauddin Bashir.

The management committee meeting chaired by newly appointed chairman Prof Dr Abdul Ghaffar, who is also vice-president of the Punjab University Academic Staff Association (PUASA), too endorsed the decision of the previous management committee regarding the allotment of plots to Prof Haider Ali, registrar Prof Dr Muhammad Naeem Khan and PUEHS director/secretary Sarfrazul Haq.

The committee also decided to convene a meeting of the 43 allottees in Town-I, whose plots size was reduced from 45' x 90' to 45' x 70', with a view to seeking their input for solution of this issue.

The meeting was attended by Prof Dr Zahoorul Hassan Rizvi, Prof Dr Amin Athar, Prof Dr Aamir Ijaz, Dr Uzma Ikram, Shahid Mahmood Gul, Javed Sami, Samee Uzair, Iftikhar Ahmad Chaudhry, Ahmad Ali Chatta, Muhammad Arif, Javed Iqbal Siddiqui, M Zaheer Khan and Sarfrazul Haq.

It may be mentioned here that the previous management committee, headed by pro-vice-chancellor Prof Dr Jamil Anwar Chaudhry, was holding discussions on the housing society issues, including the setting up of a housing foundation and finalising by-laws.

However, PU vice-chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran disbanded the management committee as soon as he returned from his foreign visit and constituted a new panel, comprising "chosen" faculty members.

The new management committee immediately allotted plots to six faculty members, including vice-chancellor's wife Shazia Noreen Qureshi, alleged PUASA executive members.

However, sources in the university administration said the VC had disbanded the management committee because it was not informing the vice-chancellor about the status of the PUEHS as well as availability of un-allotted plots.

When contacted, former PUEHS management committee chairman and pro-vice-chancellor Prof Dr Jamil Anwar said he had provided the list of un-allotted plots in Town-I and II to the VC, besides explaining that 15-kanal land was under litigation. He said the VC was never kept in the dark.

Meanwhile, PUASA leaders say the housing society's entire issue was taken along by the staff association and the previous committee was constituted with the consent of the association's general body. "This time, the vice-chancellor took a unilateral decision and disbanded the committee (previous) having well-informed and experienced members and constituted a new panel having new members," a PUASA leader said.

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Protest over department's shifting to sub-campus
Faisalabad: Scores of the students of the Government College University Faisalabad's banking and finance discipline on Tuesday staged a rally against shifting of their department from the varsity's main campus to its sub-campus.

The sub-campus, known as Faisalabad Institute of Textile and Fashion Designing, is situated in Civil Lines.

The protesting students blocked Chenab Chowk, throwing traffic out of gear for nearly half-an-hour. They also staged a sit-in outside the vice-chancellor's office for about three hours. They were chanting slogans against the administration and in favour of their demand for keeping the department on the main campus. The students said all departments of management sciences were still at the varsity's main campus, while only banking and finance department had been shifted to FITFD, set up for fine arts disciplines, some seven months ago.

They argued the FITFD campus was too small to accommodate about 900 students of the banking and finance discipline, beside its own.

They also deplored non-availability of proper computer lab, library and even the canteen for the banking and finance students. The protesters said varsity had not been allowing them to use the canteen set up for fine arts students, and they were asked to leave the campus after taking classes. Dawn

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