Sarhad University of Science and Information Technology (SUST), Peshawar Campus has denied all allegations leveled by the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) regarding the award of a fake Masters in Public Health (MPH) degree to the incumbent Health Ministry director general.
In a press conference held on Thursday, SUST Vice-Chancellor Dr Salimur Rehman said it was true that Health DG Dr Jehanzeb Khan Aurakzai was enrolled in the MPH course at the university, but he still had to clear six papers to complete his degree requirements.
“The university has not awarded him a degree as he still has to appear the papers in which he was marked absent,” Rehman said.
The VC accused PMDC of trying to defame the university due to an ongoing tussle between the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination (NHSRC) and the PMDC over the establishment of the medical regulator’s executive committee by using unfair means.
“To our understanding, PMDC is trying to defame the Health DG who had been asked to probe the controversial constitution of the PMDC Executive Council, by dragging the university into this without having any solid evidence,” Rehman said.
Sharing details, he said that on June 5, Dr Shakeel Ahmed wrote to the Human Rights Cell (HRC) of the Supreme Court alleging that a grade-20 NHRC official was favoured in meeting the requirement of the class attendance and also through arranging special examinations for the courses he failed.
On June 10, the HRC told the university as well as the PMDC to submit their respective reports on the issue by June 30, Rehman said.
“The university received the letter on June 17, while on June 11, the PMDC registrar formed a two-member committee comprising PMDC Deputy Registrar Dr Shaista Faisal and Dr Muhammad Ismail, to probe into the matter,” he said.
Later, the university provided the committee members with all the required documents well on time at its Islamabad and Peshawar campuses, Rehman said.
“However, PMDC Registrar Raja Amjad Mehmood wanted us to say Dr Aurakzai was given a special chance and that he was facilitated in impersonation — something that had never happened. We could in no way admit to it,” he claimed.
Later, Fahad Bin Hasnain, an acting account officer at PMDC, approached the university while claiming to be a member of the committee and asked for Dr Aurakzai’s answer sheets, he added.
“It was strange and shocking to learn that a person who was not a committee member and had no relevance to the issue would be asked to investigate the matter,” said Rehman.
On the other hand, without waiting for the HRC to decide, PMDC directed us to cancel the admission of the Health DG within three days, but our response was that we need to wait for the directives from the HRC,” he said.
Later, Mehmood himself became the chairman of the committee and submitted the findings of the report regarding the award of a degree to the Health DG and declared the university guilty, Rehman said.
Then on July 14, PMDC issued a show cause notice to the university that was later challenged in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) by the university, he said adding the IHC issued reinstatement order on June 28.
“In spite of the stay order dated July 28, on August 4, the PMDC released a frivolous story about award of the fake degree to the Health DG,” he said.
When The Express Tribune contacted PMDC Registrar Mehmood, he said the inquiry was initiated after a complaint was lodged by Dr Shakeel, a classmate of Dr Aurakzai’s who claimed that the latter was given special favour.
“On this, I asked the university to provide us the required documents, however there was huge difference between the documents provided to us by the Islamabad and Peshawar Campuses,” he claimed.
Mehmood denied the allegation that he shared documents with the media and others without waiting for the HRC decision.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 8th, 2014.