Senate rejects PMDC ordinance, dispute figures on sectarian killings

* Legislators say federal government can’t take over functions of the regulatory body * Number of people killed in sectarian clashes much higher than a total of 2,090

ISLAMABAD: The Upper House of parliament on Wednesday rejected the PMDC Amendment Ordinance that sought to give more powers to the federal government with regard to control of the regulatory body.
The combined opposition parties in Senate opposed the PMDC (Amendment) Ordinance, 2014 (Ordinance No.III of 2014), which seeks to take away power from the provinces and hand it over to the federal government. The ordinance was laid in the Senate last week and as per the constitution any member can move a resolution calling for its disapproval, citing reasons. The disapproval motion was jointly moved by PPP senators Farhatullah Babar and Mian Raza Rabbani.
Mover of the resolution, Senator Farhatullah Babar, said that the PMDC was an autonomous regulatory body which, under a federal legislation, was responsible for establishing uniform minimum standard of medical education, regulate the conduct of medical and dental practitioners across the country and also monitor and maintain standards of medical education. All regulatory bodies, he said the medical education; and related institutions fell under items listed in Part-II of the Federal Legislative List, the policy formulation for which was the responsibility of Council of Common Interest (CCI).
He said that under Article 154 of the Constitution policy formulation in matters listed in Part 11 of the Federal Legislative List is the responsibility of the Council of Common Interest and not of the federal government and PMDC being a regulatory body was the responsibility of CCI. Baber said that in no case the federal government could take over the functions of the regulatory body.
Senator Mian Raza Rabbani was of the view that some centralized mind set people wanted to take away power from provinces and keep all the powers at center. He claimed that this amendment is totally against the provincial autonomy, which passed by the parliament unanimously by PPP led coalition government. Federal Minister for Science and Technology Zahid Hamid told the senators that this law was thoroughly discussed in national assembly committee. The Senate has the power disapprove it but let us discuss this law in the house. But deputy chairman Senate Saber Baloch put the resolution in front of the house and was rejected.
Earlier, the senators disagree with federal government figures relating to killing of people during last seven years (2008 to 2014) in sectarians clashes. The ministry of interior provided in written total 2090 people were killed during this period, which are Punjab 104, Sindh 252, KP 22, Balochistan 737, FATA 867, Gilgit Baltistan 103, Islamabad Capital Territory 5, and none in AJK. Legislators from all four provinces rejected the figures presented by State Minister for Interior Balighur Rehman and claimed that actual figures were much higher than presented by the minister. They also regretted that not a single conviction was made in these cases during last seven years.
ANP Senator Ilyas Bilor claimed that only on Church attack more than 100 people were killed, then how the minister claimed that only 22 people were killed in sectarian clashes. Balochistan Senator Abdur Raul claimed that thousands were killed in sectarian clashes. But Balighur Rehman informed the house that these figures were received from provinces. The Senate rejected Sales Tax Amendment Bill, 2014, on the recommendation of standing committee and adopted its unanimous recommendation over the bill. MQM female lawmaker Nasreen Jalil presented the report of Standing Committee on Finance regarding Sales Tax Amendment Bill, 2014, which was rejected by the House with majority vote.
Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal moved a motion under Rule 218 to start discussion on the Pakistan Vision 2025 and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The House agreed to discuss it in the next session.

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