JPMC’s fate remains un-decided as the case is still pending in the Supreme Court

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 After devolution of Health & Education to the provinces

JPMC’s fate remains un-decided as the case
is still pending in the Supreme Court

Gradual retirement of senior faculty members and no fresh inductions
is seriously affecting teaching, training as well as patient care

KARACHI: The ultimate fate of Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre remains undecided as the case is still pending in the Supreme Court of Pakistan. In the meantime the gradual retirement of the senior faculty members and no fresh induction is seriously affecting not only patient care but also teaching and training of undergraduate as well as postgraduates. The federal government seems to be least interested in retaining this institution and Sindh Government is keen to take charge which is being resisted due to court cases. Hence, the faculty, employees of the institution, provincial government and federal government have all contributed to destroying an institution named after the Father of the Nation which once used to be a premier postgraduate medical institution of Pakistan.  It has now been degraded to the level of a district hospital. In the good old days, the most eminent, senior clinicians used to be on the faculty of this institution. Unfortunately the judiciary has also not been of any help and enormous delay in deciding its final fate has also contributed and checked its growth and development.

At present most of the development work, addition and expansion of services are being undertaken by an NGO Patients Aid Foundation under the supervision of Prof.Tariq Mahmood and his other team members. Had it not been because of them, JPMC would have been converted into a graveyard long time ago.

It may be mentioned here that after the constitutional amendment when Health and Education were handed over to the provincial governments, employees and some faculty members of the JPMC did not accept the devolution saying that it did not apply to Higher Education Institutions which are meant for teaching and training. They went to the Sindh High Court. It took lot of time, and when the hearing were eventually concluded, the decision was reserved. Sindh High Court announced its judgment.  The employees got a stay order. The operative part of the judgment dated June 30th, 2011 stated that “We are of the view that till such time when the order with regard to constitution of larger bench or otherwise is passed by the Honourable Chief Justice, some protection should be given to the petitioners. We therefore direct the provincial government not to take any coercive action against any of the petitioners which will include termination, transfer to other provinces, modification of their terms of service, to their detriment or any other related actin and also direct that the facilities of training which have been provided in these institutions to students will not be disrupted or modified to the detriment of the students till next date of hearing.” Finally the plea of the employees was accepted and the Sindh Government went in appeal against the Sindh High Court judgment to the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Supreme Court of Pakistan is reported to have issued notice to the parties concerned and also asked the parties in this litigation to maintain status quo as it stood on the date of the announcement of the impunged judgment. However, it also added that this order shall not affect the functioning of the Jinnah Sindh Medical University. These days the Supreme Court seems to be too busy in political cases with the result that such important cases are pending. During this process the institutions are being destroyed.

None of the court order had specifically stated that no fresh inductions should be made but faculty selected by Jinnah Sindh Medical University after advertising these posts and selection through interviews is not  being allowed to join the institution by the JPMC administration which on its own cannot induct faculty as well. The JSMU has in the meantime absorbed all the faculty members already working at JPMC taking in to consideration their seniority and   promoted them to the next grade. They are happy but overall shortage of the senior faculty is seriously affecting teaching, training and patient care. Provincial Government of Sindh, is reported to have increased the budged of all the institutions which were earlier under the control of Federal Government i.e. National Institute of Child Health, National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases and JPMC manifold. NICH is reported to accepted the new arrangement and so is the case with staff at NICVD who under the new set up and administration are getting very lucrative salary packages, hence have no complaints. NICVD has chalked out an ambitious expansion plan setting up sub-centers, campuses in the interior of Sindh and service facilities in different parts of Karachi. However, will they be able to sustain all this in the long term, remains a question mark?

A number of senior faculty members of JPMC who were part of the litigation have also retired. None of the stake holders at present it appears is keen to get this issue resolved soon, that is why no one is pursuing the case actively.   If the issue is not resolved soon, it might have serious repercussions in the days to come. One hopes that Honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan will take personal interest and decide this case on urgent basis so that all the concerned institutions, can plan their future development and expansion programmes.

If this was not enough, recent Bill passed by the Sindh Assembly regarding running and managing the Universities wherein the Vice Chancellor’s will be just “Glorified Clerks” who will have no powers to select their team i.e. Registrar, Deans, Controller of Examinations etc., has also sent a strong wave of resentment among the educationists and academicians. It is said that if you wish to destroy any Nation, just destroy their education system, the rest will follow. Our politicians seems to be doing just that. God help us all.

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