Sacking Pakistani doctors
It is extremely worrying that Saudi Arabia and some other Arab countries have rejected the eligibility of Post Graduate degrees including Master of Surgery (MS) and Doctor of Medicine (MD) which are being issued by the reputed Medical Universities of Pakistan. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and United Arab Emirates have started the sacking of such post graduate degree holders. The decision will create similar problem for Pakistani doctors who are employed in other countries.
It is the prerogative of the federal government to have taken prompt notice of this serious issue because the “Novel criteria” being applied by the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) for registration of these degrees has created a credibility gap abroad about the professional competence of doctors holding MS and MD degrees. The attitude of PMDC towards the medical graduates from foreign medical institutions is more than step-motherly, while giving them registration on the basis of acquiring irrationally high percentile in registration examination.
As the federal government did not fulfill its responsibility of coming to rescue of Pakistani doctors, the government of Punjab has to take the lead in addressing their grievances. The health department of Punjab is taking up the issue of withdrawal of recognition from MS and MD doctors which were in place for the past several decades. Government of Saudi Arabia is being approached to reverse its decision of excluding the Pakistani post graduate doctors from the list of high paid tiers. The efforts the provincial government will be buttressed by a delegation of specialist doctors of universities of medical sciences which will visit Saudi Arabia just after Eid. However, it is pertinent to mention that some developing countries like Bangladesh, Srilanka and Nepal have expressed skepticism about the MS and MD study programmes of Pakistan in medical sciences.
The decision of Saudi Arabia and some other Arab countries will dent the credibility of medical graduate and postgraduate degrees which are being awarded by the Medical Universities in Pakistan. Now recognition has been withdrawn from MS and MD study programmes and next target will be the FCPS specialization study programme.
The lion share of home remittances are remitted by Pakistanis who are employed in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and other Gulf States. These countries are now giving preference to the natives in employment and the workers of middle and low paid tiers are being sent back to countries of their origin including Pakistan. Withdrawal of recognition of MS and MD post graduate degrees is mere a pretext to justify the sacking of Pakistani doctors. It would be worthwhile that federal government should step in and resolve this issue through diplomatic channels.