House approves two dozen amendments with voice vote | Bill to be sent to lower house of Parliament for final approval.

 

ISLAMABAD    -   The Senate on Monday passed a bill that seeks to reconstitute the Paki­stan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) amid strong protest and up­roar from the opposition.

The house passed the controversial Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) Bill, 2022, with over two dozen amendments, leading to disbandment of the Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) established by the last Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government.

The treasury benches wanted that the bill should be passed immedi­ately as it involved future of the medi­cal students while the opposition stressed that the proposed legislation would only open doors to bring in­competent professions into the heath sector and serve interest of the mafia.

Leader of the Opposition in the Sen­ate Dr Shahzad Waseem first objected to the bill and stressed that it should be sent to the committee again. Paki­stan People’s Party (PPP) Senator Sa­lim Mandviwalla, the mover of the bill, alleged that Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Health Sena­tor Hamayun Mohmand not only ridi­culed the amendments but also the treasury members during the meet­ing that took up the bill – an allegation altogether rejected by the latter.

The PTI Senator Mohmand in his remarks said that he did nothing il­legal and in fact, the treasury mem­bers tried to insult him. He said no discussion took place on 98 percent amendments. Soon after Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani allowed for­mer Senator Mandviwalla to move the amendments, the PTI lawmakers started uproar and gathered close to the chairman ’s dais chanting slogans of ‘’no, no’ soon. The house approved the amendments with a voice vote.

Under the bill, the prime minister will constitute PMDC, which will in­clude three members from the civil so­ciety nominated by the premier on the recommendation of the minister con­cerned, and a retired high court judge or a practicing lawyer with a minimum experience of 15 years. Similarly, the council will include surgeon general of Armed Forces’ medical services, secretary National Health Services, provincial health secretaries, and five licensed medical professionals.

The bill, already passed by the Na­tional Assembly, will again be sent to the lower house of the Parliament for a final approval. The house also passed 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 Senator Saleem Mand­viwalla, and the National Assembly Sec­retariat Employees (Amendment) Bill moved by Senator Sarfaraz Bugti.

At least four bills seeking to amend the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2018 were tabled in the house, which will be considered by the standing committee concerned. With the addition of these four bills, the total number of such bills pending be­fore the Senate Committee on Human Rights has reached six. A bill, moved by Senator Bahramand Khan Tangi, seek­ing to provide for the management and regulation of Toshakhana was also tabled in the house at a time when the present government alleges that Chairman PTI Imran Khan sold costly gifts received from foreign dignitaries leading to an embarrassment for the country. Leader, the opposition leader Dr Shahzad Waseem speaking in the house said that the way the PMDC Bill has been bulldozed has refreshed the memories about the recent amend­ments made in the accountability law—a black which is also known an NRO-II— by the coalition government.

He went on the say that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) gov­ernment was busy in holding pressers since last a day by saying that it would hold a probe on the controversial ci­pher. “We, from day one, have been demanding an investigation into the matter through a judicial commission headed by the chief justice of Pakistan.” PTI Senator Waseem accused that the government was having a dual policy on the matter as earlier it had been saying that the cipher story was concocted one and now they have become the biggest proponents of the existence of the dip­lomatic cable. He alleged that the prob­lem was that the coalition government was trying to make a ‘smoke screen’ to divert the attention of the people, either through leaked audios or cipher.