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Police in Islamabad arrested on Tuesday at least a dozen doctors who were protesting outside the Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC), Aaj News reported.

Doctors from across the country were protesting outside the PMC building against making the National Licensing Exam (NLE) compulsory. However, the police took action after they broke inside the building premises, officials say.

In order to disperse the protesters, police used tear-gas and also baton-charged them. The protest turned violent after both sides clashed, even hurling stones at each other. Several policemen and doctors were injured during the clash.

In August, PMC's National Medical Authority (NMA) conducted and concluded the first NLE across the country. The exams were held in five centres located in Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta, and Karachi.

PMC's NMA successfully conducts first NLE

The NLE has been made a prerequisite for medical and dental graduates to attain full licences to practice in Pakistan.

Pakistan medical graduates who pass the NLE will be eligible on completion of their house jobs to apply and receive their full licence to practice medicine.

Medical students protest against National Licensing Exam

However, doctors argue that they already have to appear for several highly competitive annual professional exams and dozens of viva and practical. The sudden imposition of an extra NLE to get a medical licence is draconian, they argue.

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