Some record of PMDC found to be missing

Council officials claim some assets yet to be returned

Saqib Basheer April 15, 2020
Representational image. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: The registrar of the apex regulator of medical education institutions and doctors’ in the country has informed the high court that critical records of thousands of medical practitioners has gone missing from its building in the months the federal government had sealed it.

Moreover, assets owned by the regulator have yet to be returned as well.

This was stated by the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) Registrar Brig (retired) Hafeezuddin on Tuesday as he submitted a report to the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

While hearing a contempt of court petition filed by Hafeezuddin, against the government for failing to abide by courts orders and allowing staff of the council to resume its duties, the Ministry of National Health Services Regulations and Coordination Secretary Zahid Saeed had urged the court to allow them to visit the council’s building once so that they can retrieve critical records.

Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani had subsequently directed the PMDC registrar to file a plea if any of the relevant records were found to be missing.

In a written application submitted to the IHC on Tuesday, Hafeezuddin detailed that they had found several hard-drives and laptops, which contained important records, missing from different departments.

Hafeezuddin further said that they have been unable to locate keys to several doors and wifi devices which had been installed in many departments, all of which appear to have disappeared mysteriously.

During Monday’s hearing of the case, the PMDC registrar had told the court that even though PMDC employees had been restored by the court, the government has yet to return possession of some assets such as cars and houses. In the document submitted on Tuesday, the PMDC registrar identified these missing assets as five vehicles and three houses which are owned by the PMDC. Moreover, he said that the cars which are still parked in the PMDC buildings, they cannot find their keys either.

The registrar further told the court that he has informed the secretary of the now-dissolved Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) as well as that of the federal health ministry about these.

While the latter has yet to respond, the PMC secretary had referred the registrar to the ministry and allegedly refused to come to the PMDC building.

The registrar in his report further said that the PMDC has started working with a limited staff of 45 staffers owing to precautions as part of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The government had dissolved the PMDC in October 2019, through an ordinance and had sealed its building overnight. Simultaneously, the government had created the PMC to replace the council through a separate ordinance.

However, the ordinance was struck down by the court in February 2020, and the council was restored. However, employees of the council were now allowed back into the PMDC building until late last month. After a brief sitting, following court orders to de-seal the PMDC building, officials of the council were again evicted and the structure sealed once more.

It was not until last week when on court orders the PMDC was finally allowed to resume its operations and the staff to return. 

Published in The Express Tribune, April 15th, 2020.

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