PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has appointed another Board of Governors (BoG) for the Nowshera Medical College and its attached teaching hospital which suffered due to alleged political interference and illegal appointments after it was declared as a Medical Teaching Institute (MTI).
According to a notification, the new board comprised Mohammad Ishfaq Khan (chairman), Bakht Baz Khan, Mohammad Waleed Akhtar, Adnan Naveed Babar, Shabnam Khattak Advocate, Kashif Ali Advocate and Dr Ghulam Shah (members).
Ishfaq Khan is a retired civil servant and held important positions in the province before his retirement.
He served as health secretary in the previous Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government. Prior to that, he was secretary for Irrigation when Pervez Khattak was the irrigation minister in the coalition government of the Awami National Party and Pakistan People’s Party.
Later, he was made principal secretary to the then chief minister Pervez Khattak.
After retirement from service, Ishfaq was made a member of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Public Service Commission.
According to sources in the Health Department, all names for the new board were recommended by the Nowshera-based PTI leader and former defence minister Pervez Khattak.
The government had recently appointed a BoG for the same hospital and it was composed of prominent health experts but the board members started facing serious problems from the local PTI leadership, particularly from Pervez Khattak when the board started implementing the MTI Act in letter and spirit and made key appointments on merit.
The hospital was shut for several days allegedly to blackmail the board members. The Peshawar High Court chief justice then took note of the situation and patients’ sufferings and ordered the reopening of the hospital.
The former prime minister Imran Khan and his cousin and the de facto health minister Dr Nausherwan Burki had initially backed the previous board and decisions which were considered bold and merit-based.
However, neither Imran Khan nor Dr Burki could defend the board members when the Nowshera-based PTI leadership refused to allow them to run the institutions.
Khan and Dr Burki succumbed to the pressure of the PTI leader and sent the BoG members home which sent a wrong message to the doctor community and the merit upholders.
At some point, the government was considering withdrawing the MTI status of the Nowshera Medical College and its hospital due to undue interference of the local PTI leadership in recruitment and alleged embezzlement in funds. The government was not able to do so and it had to appoint a new board and adjust all names recommended by Pervez Khattak.