Finally the Ministry of National Health Services de-sealed the PMDC building and instructed the Registrar, Brig (R) Hafizuddin Siddiqui to take up his office. The said step was taken on the orders of IHC on Monday. He has also been asked to visit the Ministry today and share the modalities about how the council will function in future. The ministry has also informed the IHC through a written letter about the compliance of the court order.
The Government had dissolved the PMDC through a presidential ordinance on October 19, 2019 and had announced the formation of a new body with the name of Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC). Following the announcement the NHS ministry sealed the PMDC building on October 20, 2019 and terminated the 220 employees except that of class four employees who were ordered to retain their services as they had been performing before. Later the new body of Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) was established and the building was made functional.
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The sacked employees knocked at the doors of Islamabad High Court and begged for justice. Finding the case genuine, the IHC on Feb 11, 2020 declared the presidential ordinance ‘null and void’ and passed the orders of restoring PMDC with immediate effect. The Health Ministry on the other hand ignoring the orders, sealed the building of PMDC again and stopped the employees from entering the premises. Moreover the government filed an appeal in the division bench against the IHC decision however the desired results could not be obtained. The employees however filed a contempt petition in the IHC right-after. On Monday 30th March, 2020 Justice Mohsin Kiyani while hearing the contempt plea expressed his anger and ordered the government to open the PMDC within one hour or instructions might be given to send the concerned officials behind the bars otherwise. The order made the employees take a sigh of relief and they gathered outside the PMDC building to rejoin their duties however the management did not allow them to enter the PMDC building. Hafizzudin Siddiqui (Registrar) told the media that he had been called by the ministry on strict orders of court however the Joint Secretary Saeedullah Khan Niazi did not permit the other employees to enter the building pleading that the office timings had passed and asked him to visit the ministry again on Tuesday (today) so that the modalities and the number of employees to enter the building could be finalized.
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“As per my calculations, at least 50-60 employees are mandatory to make the council functional. I am told that record and stock is ready however our nominated board of officers will physically count and check everything before signing the document of handing/taking over”, said Siddiqui. He also disclosed that he would write to the former Supreme Court Judge, Justice Shakirullah to join the office as the president of council in the light of court order.
On Monday, the judge while hearing the contempt petition noticed that NHS secretary and the additional secretary were not present in the courtroom. Moreover the petitioners’ counsel, Abdul Rahim Bhatti (Adv.) brought into the court’s notice that the Government seemed to be reluctant on implementing the orders of honorable court as the NHS ministry intended to enroll fresh doctors through the desk and that was against the law.
Justice Kiyani while expressing his utmost displeasure warned that the court might order to send the NHS secretary to jail for a term of six months for flouting the court orders. In addition, he strictly stopped the ministry from enrollment of new doctors. The court was adjourned for an hour and after resumption the court was told that the joint secretary had informed the Registrar to take up his office in compliance of court order. However the Registrar shared with the court that the Ministry asked him to take charge of his office alone and did not permit the staff to rejoin. The AG Tariq Mehmood Khokhar answered that the government had adopted the social distancing policy due to Corona Virus and this was the reason for urging the Registrar to sit alone in his office. The hearing was adjourned till the second week of April with the instructions of handing over the PMDC charge to the Registrar, Mr. Siddiqui.