NLE was cancelled last year
Medical students and doctors across the country have been protesting against the licensing exam introduced last year by the Pakistan Medical Commission.
Young people from different organisations, including Doctors Wake-Up Movement Pakistan, Private Medical Students Union Pakistan, and Pakistan Medical Association, are out on the roads in Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan, and Islamabad.
Before the PMC Act 2020, medical students who had completed their MBBS degree could apply for a provisional license to do a house job, and a full license would be granted after completion of the house job.
Now, however, after graduation medical students will only get a license to practise after they clear the National Licensing Exam and complete their house job.
“We have passed five years of annual hectic prof exams under the supervision of medical institutions, why do we need to appear for NLE?”, the protesters asked.
The exam could not be held last year because of the controversy and protests.
This year, the medical students have vowed to do the same.
“NLE is a black rule and it cannot be imposed on the old batches at least,” said Hassan Baloch, the president of the Private Medical Students Union Pakistan. “We will continue to protest till our demands are met.”
Students say that upon admission to medical universities they had submitted an affidavit on stamped paper to abide by the rules of the now-dissolved Pakistan Medical and Dental Council, and questioned how a new policy by the commission’s successor could be implemented on older batches.
“The exam will ruin the future of medical students and we will not let them do so,” a representative of Doctors Wake-Up Movement Pakistan said.
“A case has also been filed in the Lahore High Court and some more petitions will be filed soon,” he told SAMAA Digital.
They have also announced a long march towards Islamabad.
The protesters claim that the new exam would put greater pressure on students and do nothing to improve the health system. It will instead cast doubt on the competency of PMDC-licensed degree holders, they say.
“PMC will only make money from the NLE exam fee,” says Baloch.
The registration portal on PMC’s website lists Rs12,000 as the fees of the exam. For this year’s exam, the last date to register is July 5. The NLE will be held between August 20 and August 27.