Since the 1970s, Pakistan’s economy has depended heavily on remittances from its citizens working in the Gulf Arab states. Pakistani doctors, engineers and other white-collar workers are a key source of much needed money for Pakistan’s perilous economy.
In such a situation the news that Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar and Bahrain have rejected the century-old postgraduate degree program of Pakistan — MS (Master of Surgery) and MD (Doctor of Medicine) — removing it from the eligibility list of the highest paid tier. This decision renders hundreds of highly qualified medics liable for deportation.
According to a story in Dawn, “Rejecting Pakistan’s MS/MD degree, the Saudi ministry of health claimed it lacked structured training program, a mandatory requirement to hire medics against important positions. After the Saudi move, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain also took the similar step. Most of the affected doctors were hired by a team of the Saudi health ministry in 2016 when it conducted interviews in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad after inviting applications online.”
While “some of the affected doctors and senior health officials in Pakistan blame the College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan (CPSP) for damaging their career. A spokesperson for the Association of University Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan, Dr Asad Noor Mirza, takes it as a setback for Pakistan’s major degree qualification and disrespect to the highly qualified cream of the nation. He claimed that CPSP delegations during recent visits to Saudi Arabia and some Gulf states had presented distorted facts about Pakistan’s university program to maintain monopoly of the CPSP-sponsored FCPS qualification.”
The government of Pakistan is supposed to take up the matter with health managers in the Arab countries.