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KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Friday restrained the authorities concerned from conducting medical and dental colleges admission tests (MDCAT) on October 18.

A two-judge bench, headed by Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, issued notices to the federal and provincial governments, the Pakistan Medical Commission and the advocate-general of Sindh to submit their comments on the petitions challenging the testing system for admission to MBBS and BDS programmes.

The court ruled that admission tests would not be conducted until the court gave a final decision on the petitions involving the testing system controversy. The court directed the federal and provincial governments to submit their comments on the next hearing on October 22.

Entry tests for medical and dental colleges and universities were slated for October 18. The court was told that the provincial government was holding the test as per the old law. The new law, however, says that the PMC will hold a single medical and dental colleges admission test (MDCAT) across the country.

The MDCAT is conducted every year for admission into MBBS and BDS programmes. It is a prerequisite for admission to all medical and dental colleges both in the public and private sector in Pakistan. Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar asked what problem the Centre and Sindh have with this.

"It is the future of students that you should be worried about," he remarked.

"Why have they turned this into an ego war? Let the federal government submit its reply in the case, and then we will issue a verdict," the judge added.

Additional Attorney-General Kashif Paracha said that they should be given three days to prepare a written reply.

The petitioners requested the SHC to declare the medical colleges admission test on October 18 -- as announced by the provincial admission committee -- as per the PMDC Admissions Regulations 2020 without legal effect as the PMDC Ordinance 1962 had been repealed, and the council was dissolved by virtue of the PMC Act.

The court was also requested to declare that the Sindh admissions committee in pursuance of the PMC Act had no lawful authority to determine the admission criteria for private medical and dental universities and colleges in Sindh.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020