ISLAMABAD - After embroiling in controversies of registering substandard medical colleges in recent times, the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) has decided to ban the recognition of new medical colleges for indefinite period. Initially, the ban was imposed in 2010 for two years that was lifted later on.

The recently elected Executive Council in its meeting decided once again to impose the ban for indefinite period in pursuance to its earlier decision which proved better results, according to official. "There are many reasons of the ban but the foremost reason is to improve the standard of already established colleges as their academic standards have suffered in recent years as they face dearth of faculty and infrastructure," informed an official. "The council also lacks required infrastructure to monitor and regulate all the colleges and if more colleges are opened it will be in a complete mess," he added.

Currently 140 medical colleges both public and private are functional across the country and many of them are under scrutiny. According to information, 50 percent of them were established in the past five years without any planning. The National Accountability Bureau and the PMDC itself have been investigating the allegations and making surprising visits of various colleges to identify the discrepancies.

Besides, a Commission headed by Justice Retired Shabbar Raza Rizvi has been probing the issue of registration of 19 medical colleges in one day.

Spokesperson Juma Muhammad Mandokhail maintained that moratorium on opening of new medical colleges has been imposed in the wake of dearth of faculty and ensuring full standard in the existing medical colleges. He said the moratorium would be intact until the next decision by the Council.

"The decision has been taken in consultation with all the stake holders of medical education and it's a part of the plan to restructure the PMDC and make an effort to implement effective system of medical education," he added.