LAHORE: The selection of the daughter of Punjab health minister allegedly against a newly created post at the King Edward Medical University (KEMU) has drawn criticism from various quarters, who are calling it favouritism.
The issue came to the fore when some young doctors protesting against the Punjab government’s decision to bring the Mayo Hospital under the Medical Teaching Institutions Act uploaded the notification of the appointment in question on social media some 40 days after the decision.
While criticising the act, the protesters claimed that Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid’s daughter, Dr Ayesha Ali, was “accommodated” in the institution by creating a new department only to please the minister. They further said that she was selected as a regular employee rather than on contract.
Social media users pressed the health and other authorities to review the selection. According to the notification issued on Jan 12, Dr Ali was selected for a BPS-19 post of fetal medicine assistant professor by the KEMU selection board.
Selection board member says Dr Ayesha Ali was most qualified, experienced candidate
Dean of surgery and allied, Prof Dr Asad Aslam Khan, who is also the chief executive of the Mayo Hospital, rejected the allegations of favouritism, saying that all legal procedures were followed while filling the post. “Dr Ayesha Ali was the most qualified and experienced person as was required in the advertised post out of all who applied for it,” he claimed.
In fact, he added, no other candidate fulfilled the required qualifications.
“This candidate is working in the UK and getting a handsome salary there,” Prof Khan said, adding that her decision and intension to return to the country and establish a modern subspecialty in gynae and obstetrics should be commended.
He said he was also a member of the selection board, adding that the remaining members were from the higher education and health departments, the Punjab Public Service Commission and KEMU, while some retired professors were also part of the panel.
Talking about the merit and transparency during the selection of Dr Ali, Prof Khan said: “At the time of the interview I did not even know she was Prof Yasmin’s daughter. We were impressed with her qualifications, experience, confidence and the way she answered questions by each member.”
To a question, Prof Khan said before starting the interview and selection process, the post was advertised in national newspapers, which was mandatory. Under the law, the selection panel was bound to accept the applications of all candidates regardless of whether the contender was a minister’s daughter or not.
He further said that the subspecialty against which Dr Ali had been selected was among four other disciplines that were created to appoint highly qualified and experienced medics. This contradicted the allegations that Dr Ali was appointment by creating a unit especially to accommodate her, he claimed.
Published in Dawn, February 23rd, 2021