Once more, unwilling or unable to conduct the business of legislation in the appropriate way, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) government has decided to hammer its decisions through in the form of another presidential ordinance. Not only was the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) dissolved in the stroke of a pen, the smash and grab nature of this episode was taken to new heights when Islamabad district administration and police took over the possession of the PMDC building in an unannounced raid. This seems less like a democratic reform and more like a coup.

That a new medical regulatory body is needed is not the dispute here; the dispute is what form that body should take? Have we asked all the stakeholders, consulted technocrats and experts, taken existing structures on board and allayed the legitimate concerns raised by the opposition? Or have we simply enforced the government’s version of what is right in such a complicated domain.

It is disheartening to see this government being so short-sighted. The reason making laws is so time-consuming and full of checks and balances is because the constitution makers intended laws to be made only after careful consideration and to be made for eternity. Their permanence breeds confidence and allows people to arrange their affairs keeping the laws in mind. Anyone wishing to change the law would have to go through an equally diligent process.

An ordinance is a transitory affair; does the government plan to keep renewing it in perpetuity? What happens if a new government comes in and decides to not renew the ordinance? Who will be responsible for the chaos in that scenario? Using such a short-term tool to make bodies that intend to regulate careers and education for decades to come is a travesty of democracy.