Islamabad : How can Prime Minister Imran Khan extend assurances to the effect that the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) is not being privatised when the Medical Teaching Institutions (MTI) Ordinance clearly states that the hospital will become a corporate entity to be managed by a Board of Governors (BoG)? What else is privatisation?
The above questions, and many more pertaining to the future status of PIMS and its employees, were raised by the leadership of the Federal Grand Health Alliance (FGHA) at a press conference convened on the 18th day of their ongoing strike against the MTI legislation here on Thursday.
The FGHA Chairman Dr. Asfandyar feared that the PM has been kept in the dark about sinister aspects of the MTI legislation that will perpetuate corruption. “We will support the government if it wishes to introduce hospital reforms, but as things currently stand, the formation of a BoG whose Chairman is member of PTI’s Central Executive Committee, betrays the government’s intentions,” he pointed out. “If you really want to improve the system, you should engage professionals who are qualified in the field of hospital management rather than inducting industrialists, buisnessmen, and individuals holding political ambitions,” Dr. Asfandyar criticized.
The FGHA leadership said, the BoG will have authority to lease out the land and belongings of PIMS, and this will not be tolerated. “We have been begging the government to hear us out, and to appease our reservations about the MTI Ordinance, but to no avail. On the contrary, the PM’s use of the term ‘strikers’ for doctors and nurses who are rendering sacrifices as frontline soldiers in the fight against Coronavirus has deeply hurt our sentiments,” Dr. Asfandyar said.
The FGHA leadership asserted that reforms that alter the status of PIMS will be resisted tooth and nail. “However, amendment of civil service rules is an option that the government can exercise if it has issues with our promotions,” Dr. Asfandyar proposed, reiterating that the employees of PIMS will never allow their civil servant rights to be compromised. “Civil servants are promoted on the basis of seniority and fitness, with the latter including parameters such as intelligence, confidence, will power, and acceptance of responsibility, among others,” he added.
The FGHA urged the PM to suspend the MTI Ordinance so that the ongoing protest at PIMS can be called off. Responding to a question, the FGHA said, it is the government which has forced us to embark on a strike.