Students of the Fatima Jinnah Medical University (FJMU) blocked Queen’s Road on Tuesday against non-recognition of their degrees.
Carrying placards and chanting slogans against the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) and the Punjab government, the students also staged a rally from the administrative block of FJMU to the Emergency Block of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital. Later, the protesters, majority of whom graduated in 2016, staged a sit-in in front of the main gate of FJMU.
The protesters said Fatima Jinnah Medical College was declared a university through an Act passed by the Punjab Assembly in 2012. Practically, the college was upgraded to a university in 2015. However, the PMDC refused to recognise the degrees issued by FJMU on the pretext that the institution did not fulfil the criterion of a medical university.
A protester hailing from Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) told that the 2016 graduates had been made rolling stones by both the Punjab government and PMDC for over a year.
“Fatima Jinnah is one of the oldest medical universities of the country for girls. Parents not only from all over Pakistan, but also from a number of Arab and African countries prefer to get their daughters admitted to this institution for medical education. By not recognising the degrees what message are we conveying to the prospective foreign students? We have successfully completed our five-year course. Academically and practically we are doctors but legally we are not,” she said.
Another protester said the PMDC had been asking the Punjab Specialised Healthcare and Medical Education Department to fill vacancies of qualified medical teachers and complete other legal formalities. The department assured the PMDC of doing so but could not keep its words. Eventually the council refused to recognise the degrees issued by FJMU.
“What is our fault?” she asked.
The protesters peacefully dispersed after two hours when university Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Sardar Fakhar Zaman assured them that the matter would be resolved soon.