Pims medical college upgradation: Students, staff feel insecure
ISLAMABAD, Feb 21: The passage of the bill upgrading Quaid-i-Azam Postgraduate Medical College to a university and naming it after PPP founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto has not gone well with the students and employees of the institution.
The Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Medical University Islamabad Bill 2013 was passed by the National Assembly on Thursday.
The employees of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims), the teaching hospital of the medical college, expressed the fear that they may face downsizing and other financial problems because the university would be run by a governing body. The students of the college said there could be a fee increase.
However, Minister for Capital Administration and Development (CAD) Nazar Mohammad Gondal said not a single doctor or staff member in the institute would be removed. He claimed that the university would earn Rs100 million annually which would be utilised for provision of medical services to the residents of Islamabad.
A doctor at Pims requesting not to be identified said as soon as the governing body is formed, the hospital would become an autonomous body. This means that there will be no job security, he maintained.
“The hospital will have to generate its own funds. Those government servants who are availing free medical facility will be bound to pay for availing treatment at the hospital.
They will be asked to get the amount reimbursed from their ministries. Getting reimbursement will not be an easy job,” he said.
A student of the medical college said the institution was affiliated with the QAU University which was ranked 36th among the world’s top universities.
“If the medical college is affiliated with Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Medical University, its graduates will not be able to get admission to any foreign university because they will not recognise its degree,” he said.
“I cannot understand why the government wants to create problems for the students. If the government wants to name the university after Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, it should open a new university,” he said.
Another doctor at Pims said after the 18th amendment, education had become a provincial subject. So it is the prerogative of the ministry of education and training to control the university.
“In fact, Minister CAD Nazar Mohammad Gondal has appointed Dr Riaz Warraich, his blue-eyed boy, as the executive director of Pims and now is trying to induct him (Dr Warraich) as the vice chancellor of the university,” he alleged.
“Section 13’s sub-section 1 of the bill says that the present executive director of Pims will be the first vice chancellor of the university,” he said.
The doctor said the appointment of the Pims ED was against the rules of Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC). Under the rules, a dentist cannot be appointed as principal or vice chancellor of a medical college or university even if he is a faculty member. It may be noted that Dr Waraich is basically a dentist.
An official of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) on the condition of anonymity told Dawn that on January 28 they had sent a letter to the Pims administration pointing out that the appointment of the ED was against the rules. A reminder was again sent on February 15 but the management of Pims did not reply, he said.
When contacted, the minister for CAD rejected the impression that the step to establish the university was aimed to benefit Dr Warraich.
“Dr Warraich is one of the brilliant doctors and he was not ready to serve as the ED of Pims.
But I requested him to take over the charge and resolve the issues of Pims,” he said.
The minister said the medical university would change the future of Islamabad and Gilgit-Baltistan because all medical colleges in these areas would be affiliated with it.
He added: “It is the right of political parties to name public sector institutions after their leaders. In Punjab, even parks are being named after Nawaz Sharif.”