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12 Medical Colleges declared illegal

A dozen medical colleges in the country are being run `illegally` and have been found to be involved in `malpractices` and the minting of money through exorbitant fees against directives of Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC), government sources have told Dawn.

Two such colleges are being run by MNAs associated with the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Dr Azhar Khan Jadoon (also a member of National Assembly Standing Committee on National Health Services) and Nasir Khan Khattak.

It has been learnt that due to the influence of the two MNAs, the PMDC is being pressurised to stop action against these `illegal` medical colleges. The regulatory board has finally sought the help of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), asking it to take appropriate action against these colleges under the NAB Ordinance which empowers the body to proceed against any practices that fall in the category of looting people at large. The colleges against which NAB has initiated inquiry include the Pak Red Crescent Medical and Dental College, Lahore, the Mohiuddin Islamic Medical College, Mirpur, Azad Kashmir, the Abbottabad International Medical College, the Independent Medical College, Faisalabad, the Women Medical College, Abbottabad, the Al Razi Medical College, Peshawar, the Hashmat Medical and Dental College, Gujrat, the Sahiwal Medical College, the Muhammad Bin Qasim Medical and Dental College, Port Qasim, Karachi, the Bhittai Medical andDental College, Mirpurkhas, Sindh, the Federal Medical and Dental College, the National Institute of Health Sciences, Islamabad, and the Rehbar Medical College, Lahore. When contacted, the PMDC`s registrar, Dr Amjad, said the council had already cancelled the registration of these colleges and barred them from taking in further admissions but the council had come to know that the administration of these colleges did not close their admissions. Some of them are being run without hospital facilities and some with faculty deficiencies. He explained that the PMDC took action against these colleges after they were found to be involved in different malpractices and had failed to meet the set standards ofthe councH.

`We sent an inspection team of 13 doctors to these colleges,` the source said, `who gave them below 350 marks against the required 750 because in some of these colleges there was faculty deficiency and some have no hospital facility.

These colleges got themselves registered with the PMDC through a former registrar of the council but when the incumbent management of the PMDC started an evaluation process of medical and dental collages throughout the country, these 12 colleges were found involved in various irregularities.

When the PMDC started the registration of faculty in medical and dental collages, it found that, for example, one doctor was on the faculty of more than one college. `But when the doctors` registration was completed and the overlapping eliminated automatically, the actual faculty in various colleges remained deficient, another official of the council said.

It has also been learnt that some senior PMDC officials are being threatened through anonymous calls that if they take any action against these colleges there will be consequences.

NAB Spokesman Ramzan Sajid said the bureau has authorised an inquiry into thealleged corruption and malpractices.

`NAB received the PMDC`s complaints against medical colleges allegedly involved in looting their students,` he said.

The fear is that these medical colleges have been playing with the future of hundreds of students. Further, if these students graduate from these institutions, they would not have the capability to meet job requirements.

The PMDC has set Rs0.5 million as one year`s fee for one student but these colleges appear to be charging anywhere between Rs0.6m to over Rs0.7m as annual fees.

Talking to Dawn, PTI MNA Dr Azhar Khan Jadoon confirmed that the council has barred further admissions into his medical college, the Women Medical College, Abbottabad. However, he was of the view that the action against his and another PTI leader`s medical college, the Al Razi Medical College in Peshawar, was `illegal`.

He explained that his college was established in 1979. `Why was such action not taken in the past,` he asked, adding that `this is a tactic of the present PMDC executive body to mint money. I have been asked to pay a hefty amount if I want to get my college cleared.

Dr Jadoon claimed that his college had already been affiliated with Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute and was meeting all requirements and the standards of comparable institutions. He alleged that the executive committee of the PMDC comprised people appointed by the former head of the PMDC, Dr Asim Hussain, and they therefore ignore irregularities and malpractices being committee in Dr Hussain`s college in Karachi.

`Yet the committee`s members are targeting innocent owners of medical colleges to mint money,` he added.

Several attempts were made to contact another PTI MNA, Nasir Khan Khattak, who runs the Al Razi Medical College, but to no avail.