SIMS rejects compulsory registration with UHS
By Waqar Gillani
LAHORE: The academic council of the newly established Services Institute of Medical Sciences (SIMS) unanimously passed a resolution against affiliating with the controversial University of Health Sciences (UHS), sources told Daily Times on Sunday.
The sources said the resolution, passed by 25 members of the academic council unanimously, condemned the UHS ordinance to compulsorily register with it. The council endorsed the degree recognition of the Punjab University (PU) and criticised what it called the government’s discrimination, which allowed the Fatima Jinnah Medical College (FJMC) and the King Edward Medical College (KEMC) to remain affiliated with the PU.
The SIMS is a newly established public sector medical institution. The Postgraduate Medical Institute of the Services Hospital was merged into the SIMS with the opening of a self-financed 100-seat medical college. Another public sector self-financed medical college was opened in Sialkot. Both the institutions are considered a big achievement of the previous health minister of Punjab and founder of the UHS, Dr Mahmood Ahmad Chaudhry, who is chairman of the Board of Governors (BoG) of the UHS.
The sources said the meeting was held on April 25 and its minutes were approved later.
The academic council considered that the Punjab government should implement Justice (r) Mujaddid Mirza Commission’s report, which had discarded the compulsion to register with the UHS to avoid further protests, said the sources.
They said the academic council had also discussed the UHS maintaining it had no infrastructure, a work plan or a policy. The council considered that all official appointments made at the UHS, including the UHS’s chairman BoG, were doubtful and made without a proper procedure.
The academic council criticised the discrimination resulting out of the president’s meeting at the Governor’s House on April 21 that exempted the FJMC and the KEMC’s registration with the UHS. The meeting termed this decision “unethical, unreasonable and discriminatory”. Some members of the council urged the Punjab government to debate the issue in the assembly and then implement the commission’s report.
They said the PU was an internationally recognized university compared to the UHS. A member of the council told Daily Times most of the students took admission thinking they would get the PU degree. “The meeting feared if they had known that they would get the UHS degree, they would have gone back home saving Rs 200,000 as the annul fee.” Most of the parents and students were unaware of this issue, he claimed.
He said the same move, against the compulsory registration with the UHS, could be considered as passed by the other newly established Sialkot Medical College (SMC). “Both medical colleges started the classes at the same time. As there were just two students in the SMC, they were sent to the SIMS with the result that now no classes are being held at the SMC,” he claimed. He said this was not the first time that the SIMS had opposed to affiliate with UHS. “We had decided not to join the UHS before three months of starting of this institute,” he remarked.
Professor Dr Khalil-ur-Rehman, principal executive officer of the Services Medical Institute, however, was reluctant to speak on the issue. He said the matter was “under consideration”. Actually it was government’s policy and it was also considering it these days, he said, avoiding saying anything about the resolution.
To a question whether the issue was raised at the meeting of the academic council, held on April 25, he said: “This was not the first time that the controversy was discussed. We have been talking about the issue for quite some time.” However, many members of the academic council confirmed the resolution and the controversy at the meeting.