No medical college exempted from UHS affiliation, LHC told
By Abid Butt
LAHORE: The Punjab government told the full bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) here on Wednesday that no medical college or an institute including the King Edward Medical College (KEMC) and Fatima Jinnah Medical College (FJMC) was exempted from the compulsory affiliation to the University of Health Sciences (UHS) constituted through the UHS Ordinance 2002.
Syed Shabbar Raza Rizvi, advocate general (AG), Punjab, said this during the proceedings regarding scores of petitions challenging the compulsory affiliation of medical colleges to the UHS.
He dismissed the students’ fears that they would be at disadvantage if they got a degree from the UHS instead of the Punjab University (PU), in case they pursued higher studies abroad. He said in fact universities in the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as others, recognised the degrees issued by such institutes that were recognised by local governments through their respective health departments.
The PU through its counsel Dr Basit told the court that though it was right that it had issued a schedule for examinations for the students of KEMC, FJMC and other medical institutions, it was not holding the examinations until directed by the court. He also produced a letter by the chief secretary with directions by the government to the PU chancellor to hand over all the record of the students of medical sciences and ensure that the PU had ceased to run a faculty of medicine.
He said the PU vice chancellor was bound to follow the orders of the chancellor in pursuance of which the record had already been handed over to the UHS.
Dr Basit said the PU was ready to conduct examinations for students of all medical colleges without discrimination, only if the court decided the petition with directions to the government to that effect.
Earlier, hearing the arguments of Mr Aitzaz Ahsan, counsel for the petitioners, the court observed that it did understand the anxiety of the students as well as their right to receive education. The court said the claims and promises made in the prospectus given to students at the time of admission could not be treated as the supra legislative ordains and statutes. The court added that it could not assimilate the learned counsel’s contention that there was a difference between an institute and a university and that there were two different procedures for the recognition of the two.
Mr Ahsan said the UHS could not be called an institute fit for imparting education, as it was not competent to issue degrees without first being recognised by the federal government. He added there was a clear interpretation of the ordinance by the president of Pakistan that the PU could not affiliate any medical institutes after September 28, 2002. Besides it did not de-affiliate any of the institutes from the PU immediately through a gradual process, he maintained.
He said student of Nishtar Medical College were also going to file petitions against the UHS and they had approached him in this regard. This led to exchange of hot words between Mr Najmul Hassan Kazmi, counsel for the UHS, and Mr Ahsan when the former said that in fact no students wanted to challenge the affiliation but a mafia was working behind that.
Mr Ahsan was continuing his arguments when the proceedings were adjourned to Thursday (today). The court will also hear today advocate Abid Hassan Minto’s arguments.