Senate passes medical, dental council bill amid protest

Senate passes medical, dental council bill amid protest. File photo

ISLAMABAD: The Senate on Monday finally passed a bill with several amendments, seeking to reconstitute the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) amidst a strong protest from the opposition, which dubbed it ‘a bulldozed legislation’. 

It was a private members’ day and the sitting was marred by walk-outs, protests and tearing up of agenda copies by the opposition legislators.

Leader of the opposition in the House Dr Shahzad Waseem rose to object to the move to get the ‘controversial’ Pakistan Medical and Dental Council Bill, 2022 with a long list of fresh amendments, passed and wanted the proposed bill to be sent to the committee again. However, the treasury benches did not appear inclined to agree to it. Some government senators, including Federal Minister for Health Abdul Qadir Patel underlined the urgency to get the bill passed since it involved the future of the medical students. Contrary to it, the opposition senators alleged that the proposed legislation was meant to produce incompetent medical professionals and serve the vested interests of a mafia.

When Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani allowed PPP Senator Saleem Mandviwala to move the amendments, the PTI lawmakers started sloganeering and moved towards the Chairman’s dais. Under the set of amendments moved by Mandviwala and approved by the House with a voice vote, the prime minister will now constitute Pakistan Medical and Dental Commission by notifying it in the official gazette. Already passed by the National Assembly, the bill will again be sent to it for passage with amendments. And, after formal assent from the President, it will become an act of the parliament leading to the disbandment of the PMC.

After the passage of the bill, Dr Shahzad Waseem said that the way the PMDC Bill had been bulldozed was against the dignity of the House, adding it has refreshed the memories of the recent amendments in the accountability law by the coalition government, also known an NRO-II. He continued that the PML-N-led government was busy holding press conferences to order a probe into the controversial cipher. He remarked, “we from day one are demanding an investigation into the matter through a judicial commission headed by the Chief Justice Of Pakistan. The government has a dual policy on the issue as earlier it had termed it a concocted story and now, they have become the biggest proponents of the existence of the diplomatic cable”. “They are actually worried that Imran Khan would get a two-thirds majority whenever elections were held,” he said. PTI Senator Ejaz Ahmad Chaudhary said that it was better to bulldoze the House the way the legislation has been made, adding this example is a black spot on the ‘imported government’.

Earlier, four bills seeking to amend the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2018, were introduced in the House, with two religiopolitical parties, JUIF and JI, terming the proposed legislation as against the dictates of the Quran and Sunnah as well as the Constitution. One of the bills proposes the formation of a medical board to determine the sex of the transgender. Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee, PTI’s Walid Iqbal said under the constitution, no law against Quran and Sunnah can be framed. He assured the House that the committee was alive to its constitutional obligation and will act accordingly.

Another bill seeking to provide for the management and regulation of Toshakhana was also introduced in the House by PPP Senator Bahramand Tangi. The House also adopted the National Commission on the Rights of Child (Amendment) Bill, 2022 moved by Senator Faisal Javed, the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) Bill, 2022 moved by Saleem Mandviwala, and the National Assembly Secretariat Employees Amendment Bill moved by Sarfraz Bugti. The House will now meet on Tuesday afternoon.


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