ISLAMABAD                  -               The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Friday reconstituted an eleven-member ad-hoc council headed by Justice (retired) Ejaz Afzal Khan to run the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council).

A three-judge bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed announced the order on the petitions of Tanveer Ahmed Qureshi, Secretary Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination, and the federal government. The bench had reserved the order on April 15.

The top court of the country nullified the Islamabad High Court (IHC) order dated 07-04-2020 to open the PMDC office for the ex-registrar and said that the contempt petition pending before the IHC shall also stand dismissed. The PMDC will be headed by Justice (retd) Ejaz Afzal Khan, include Attorney General for Pakistan or his nominee, federal Secretary Health, Islamabad, Surgeon General of Pakistan Armed Forces, Vice Chancellor National University of Medical Sciences, Vice Chancellor University of Health Sciences, Lahore, Vice Chancellor Jinnah Sindh Medical University, Karachi, Vice Chancellor, Khyber Medical University, Peshawar, Vice Chancellor Bolan University of Medical and Health Sciences, Quetta, Vice Chancellor, Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Medical University, Islamabad, and Principal De’ Montmorency College of Dentistry, Lahore.

The Council shall meet as soon as possible. The Attorney General Office shall with prior approval of President of the Council intimate the date of its first meeting to all concerned. The President shall in consultation with the Council appoint a Registrar of the Council.

The order said that Brig (R) Dr Hafizuddin Ahmed Siddiqui, former registrar PMDC, shall hand over all existing record of PMDC to the authorised representative of Secretary Health. It also said the Secretary shall provide full assistance in convening and holding of meetings of the Council.

All functionaries of PMDC who may be in possession/custody of any record of PMDC shall also handover all relevant records to authorized representatives of the concerned Ministry or a person nominated by the Chairman of the Commission.

The petitioners have challenged an order of the Islamabad High Court directing the federation to allow the Brig. (Retd) Dr Hafizuddin to assume control of PMDC and taking immediate steps for compliance on a contempt petition filed by him.

Attorney General for Pakistan Khalid Jawed Khan on the last hearing had submitted that IHC passed an order for reopening the PMDC office and allowing the registrar to work despite the fact that an application moved by the federation pointing out that the Respondent No. 1 (Dr. Hafizuddin) cannot be treated as an incumbent in the Office of Registrar PMDC owing to the fact that the very law under which the appointment has been made has already been repealed is pending before the IHC.

He further pointed out that in light of “Zahid Waheed Khan. vs Crystal Chemical Limited, despite ex-facie illegal order, the same cannot be challenged in an Intra Court Appeal before IHC, as the same is not a final order. He further submitted that unless the apex court interferes in the interest of justice and in exercise of its powers under Article 187 of the Constitution, multiplicity of litigation would ensue in addition to serious legal complications need to be addressed on urgent basis owing to the importance of PMDC and its work as a regulator which has come to a stand-still on account of recent rounds of litigation.

The IHC in a writ petition had set aside Pakistan Medical Commission Ordinance, 2019 on 11.02.2020 and directed the ad-hoc Council constituted by Supreme Court on 21.01.2018 to perform the functions and run the affairs of PMDC in accordance with law.

The apex court had constituted 11-members ad-hoc PMDC headed by Justice (Retd) Mian Shakirullah Jan, former Judge of Supreme Court. The order said that the ad-hoc Council constituted by this Court ceased to exist after promulgation of PMDC Ordinance, 2019.

The AGP had submitted that in view of the judgment of the IHC, the Council needs to be reconstituted for various reasons. Therefore, the apex court reconstituted the PMDC.