off record
Shaukat Ali Jawaid

Recognition of
Dentistry at the
highest level

Last month a dentist friend rang me up to express his gratitude for highlighting the plight of dentistry in Pakistan and the fact that this important discipline has remained under shadow of Medicine in Pakistan and it has not been given due respect and recognition.1 He then went on to say that at least now the present Government has given it due respect and recognition by selecting an eminent dentist like Dr. Arif Alvi for the coveted post of President of Islamic Republic of Pakistan. This is the highest constitutional office in the country and dentist was never considered or presented this coveted post so far in the history of Pakistan for which the present Government, must be commended and appreciated. This may never happen again, he remarked.

It is a fact that Dr. Arif Alvi is a thorough gentleman, believes and has all along upheld professional ethics. He has all along in his professional career been pleading the cause of dentistry and complaining about the treatment it has been meted by their professional colleague’s physicians even in the regulatory bodies. He prepared a Dental Act many years ago and presented it to the then Senator Javed Jabbar with a request to get it enacted as a legislation but without any success. He then made a similar request to former Prime Minister Muhammad Khan Junejo but even that did not work and dentistry continues to remain neglected in Pakistan. However, it is also a fact that dental profession lacks honest, sincere, devoted leadership on the whole who can convincingly present its case to the health planners and the government authorities. Most of them are infected with materialistic virus and are too busy in private practice making money and not many have any interest in academics. It is evident from the fact that we do not have a good peer reviewed quality standard Dental Journal which enjoys international recognition and Impact Factor. Not only that, there is no meaningful research being undertaken in the field of dentistry as well, despite the fact that we have a large number of dental colleges in public as well as private sector. Dentists do not have their own separate Dental Council which is considered yet another important step if Dentistry has to get its due recognition.

I thanked the caller and then asked him, Yes Dr. Arif Alvi has been pleading the cause of dentistry but now when he himself was occupying the coveted post of President of Islamic Republic of Pakistan and it is the Government of his own party, what has he done or tried to accomplish to promote the cause of Dentistry and dental profession in Pakistan during the last two and a half years? His answer was, at present he is too busy and has to look after too many important issues of national importance. When you believe he will have some time to think about Dentistry which he used to say is his “First Love”. He had even narrated all these things while addressing the First International Dental Conference organized by University of Health Sciences at Lahore during November 2019 where he was the Chief Guest? 2 Problems facing the discipline of dentistry and dental profession have not been resolved with him becoming the President of Pakistan, I further stated. To this he failed to give any satisfactory answer.

Perhaps once he leaves the President House after the completion of his term, he will again find some time to work for the uplift of the discipline of Dentistry and long overdue proper recognition of the dental profession in Pakistan. If he failed to do anything for his first love “Dentistry” while in office, he will be remembered in history for just one thing and that is his decision to send Reference against most honest, courageous, respected Honourable Judge of Supreme Court of Pakistan Mr. Justice Qazi Faiz Isa. What the 10-member Supreme Court bench in its detailed judgment has stated is already part of history. They had observed that “President Arif Alvi did not form a considered opinion under Article 209(5) of the Constitution, hence the reference against Justice Isa “suffered with multiple defects” It also said that since there was no valid authorization for the investigation, the tax records of Justice Isa were illegally accessed”.3


  1. Dentistry will remain under shadow of Medicine till the dentists find sincere leadership & have their own Dental Council. Pulse International 2019; 20(14):1-7 http://www.pulsepakistan.com/index.php/main-news-july-15-19/3128-dentistry-will-remain-under-shadow-of-medicine-till-the-dentists-find-sincere-leadership-have-their-own-dental-council Accessed on December 21, 2020.
  2. Dentistry should be given its due place and 90% of dental diseases can be prevented-Dr. Arif Alvi. Pulse International 2019; 20(20);1-6. http://www.pulsepakistan.com/index.php/main-news-october-15-19/3243-dentistry-should-be-given-its-due-place-and-90-of-dental-diseases-can-be-prevented-dr-arif-alvi. Accessed on December 21,2020.
  3. Justice Isa Case. Editorial Daily DAWN. October 26, 2020. Page-6.
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