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Fact-check: It’s true. Pakistan has cancelled the medical licensing exam for doctors

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The federal government has cancelled the national licensing test that medical graduates had to take in order to legally practice in Pakistan, claimed social media users and media reports.

The claim is true.

Claim

“The federal government has abolished the mandatory licensing exam for medical graduates,” wrote a Twitter account on February 12. “Now every student will automatically receive a license upon graduation.”

The tweet had been viewed over 17,000 times, at the time of writing.

Fact

A press release issued by the government-run Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PM&DC) on February 10 confirmed that medical graduates are no longer required to sit for the National Licensing Examination (NLE).

“As promised by the Federal Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel, the PM&DC has started issuing permanent registration certificates from February 8 to doctors, who graduated from Pakistan medical and dental colleges, without the requirement of the National Licensing Examination,” the statement read.

The PM&DC adds that this was a long-standing demand of the medical community.

The press release, however, stated that students who have completed their undergraduate degrees from foreign universities will still have to sit for the National Registration Examination.

Hina Shaukat, the chief public relations officer at the PM&DC, told Geo Fact Check over the phone, that this was already the practice [prior to 2020].

“They [the students] were selected and checked through a proper procedure before they were registered. They did not have to sit for the NLE exams then,” she explained, “As they had come from colleges that are already recognised.”

Then in September 2020, the PM&DC was replaced by the Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) by the then Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government through an act of the parliament. Under the new law, the exam was made mandatory for Pakistani medical students to obtain a license.

“Students were protesting against the NLE test,” Shaukat said, “Because students were saying that we already have to sit through a number of comprehensive tests like the Medical & Dental College Admission Test (MDCAT) before graduating.”

Why was the NLE introduced?

Dr Faisal Sultan, who was the special assistant to the prime minister on health in 2020, defended the decision to roll out the NLE.

“In a country with well over 100 medical colleges in half a dozen provinces/territories, it is crucial that new graduates are able to demonstrate a uniform level of capability and skill,” he wrote on WhatsApp, in response to Geo Fact Check.

“This can be accomplished by a uniform national licensing exam which is done in a reliable and reproducible way,” he went on, “Not only does this provide confidence in the individual that is about to be given a license is a safe doctor, but is also a very sensitive method to judge the academic standards of the colleges.”

The doctor further explained that the exam was taken at the end of five years to, in a way, inspect the educational standards of medical colleges.

“There have often been colleges with a great variety and range of quality between them,” Sultan added, “The consumer deserves to be given a reassurance of a minimum level of competence.”

Sultan also said that even advanced countries, with good universities, like the United Kingdom or United States of America often require a national or single exam for licensing.

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Explanation: The increase in inflation in the United States would cause electricity costs in Pakistan to rise.

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Electricity contracts between Independent Power Plants (IPPs) and the federal government not only involve capacity costs, but also have a significant impact on the economy and the financial well-being of the population. These contracts are closely linked to the inflation rate and the value of the US dollar.

Startling disclosures have emerged regarding the exorbitant electricity tariffs in Pakistan. The Council of Economic and Energy Journalists Sage, representing the institute, provided a briefing to leading journalists in Karachi.

According to the information provided, the electricity rate component in Pakistan experienced a 253 percent increase from 2019 to 2024 as a result of inflation in America.

The data presented in the briefing indicates that the capacity charges in Pakistan were Rs3.26 per unit in 2019 and climbed to Rs10.34 per unit in 2024.

The capacity charges imposed on the public incorporate the effects of both US inflation and domestic inflation.

Due to the rise in the country’s interest rate, the interest payment for energy has climbed by 343% during a span of four years. Over the course of four years, the working capital of IPPs caused a 716 percent increase in the cost of power per unit.

The electricity rate has increased by 12 to 20 percent, with 70 percent of the charges being capacity charges.

SDPI experts recommended the government to adopt a centralised tariff policy rather than a universal electricity tariff strategy.

The power generation capacity amounts to 23,000 megawatts.

As a result of the increase in solar power generation in the country, the capacity charges will have an additional adverse impact on the residents.

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Business

Significant surge in the price of gold in Pakistan

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On Friday, the price of gold in Pakistan continued to increase.

According to the All-Pakistan Gems and Jewellers Sarafa Association, the price of 24-karat gold per tola has risen by Rs2,200, reaching Rs249,000.

The price of 10-gram 24-karat gold increased by Rs1,886, reaching a total of Rs213,477. On Thursday, the cost of 10 grammes of 22-karat gold was Rs195,687.

The global gold market likewise had a rising trajectory. As per APGJSA, the worldwide rate was $2,404 per ounce, showing a decline of $24 during the course of the trading day.

The local market witnessed constant silver prices at Rs2,900 per tola.

Market observers attribute the increase in gold prices to other variables, such as volatility in the global market, currency exchange rates, and economic conditions. The ongoing surge in gold prices is likely to impact investment choices and consumer behaviour in the near future.

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Court ruling: PTI to overtake all other parties in the National Assembly

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Eight independents and 84 Sunni Alliance members mean that the PTI will likely have 92 legislators in the National Assembly, according to sources.

PTI’s strength in the Lower House is expected to surge to 114 members if it regains the 22 reserved seats it previously lost.

As for the PML-N, they have 108 members in the National Assembly; PPP has 68; MQM has 21; JUI-F has 8; PML-Q has 5; and IPP has 4.

Following the Supreme Court’s ruling on the distribution of reserved seats, the 77 extra seats meant for women and minorities were taken away from the PML-N, PPP, MQM, and JUI.

The electoral commission had on May 13 suspended the 77 Sunni Ittehad Council reserved seats on directives from the Supreme Court. 22 National Assembly seats and 55 provincial assembly seats are among the contested seats.

There are eleven seats from Punjab and eight from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the National Assembly that are up for debate among women. The suspended seats also include three seats that are designated for minorities. In the National Assembly, the PPP received five seats, the JUI received three, and the PML-N received fourteen of the 22 heavily contested seats.

There are no longer any allocated seats for minorities or women in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, with 21 seats for women. In addition to the JUI-F, the PML-N was allotted seven seats, the PPP seven, and the ANP one.

The Supreme Court’s decision has suspended the three minority seats and the 24 reserved seats for women in the Punjab Assembly. The PML-N received 23, the PPP received 2, the PML-Q received 1, and the Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party received 1 in Punjab.

There are now no longer any designated seats in the Sindh Assembly for women and minorities. MQM was allotted one reserved seat out of these, and the PPP two.

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