ISLAMABAD -- Hundreds of Pakistani doctors and medical students have protested in Islamabad for a second straight day to urge government recognition of diplomas earned in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.
Around 2,000 medical school graduates and current students on January 7 gathered outside the building of the Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) to voice their demand, a day after police used batons and water cannon to disperse the protesters.
There were no serious injuries in that crackdown, despite reports that some demonstrators had hurled stones at police. Some detained demonstrators were later freed.
The protest movement was triggered by a decision by the PMC to deny recognition of diplomas from 21 medical colleges in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. The commission said those schools had “failed to meet” its criteria.
“Colleges may reapply after one year and having fulfilled the mandatory criteria,” the commission said.
The protesters argue that all the entities on the list have been certified by the World Health Organization.
The PMC blacklist includes 15 universities from Kyrgyzstan and six from Uzbekistan.
A spokesperson for the Foreign Medical Graduates (FMG) protest group told RFE/RL that more than 9,000 students from Pakistan are enrolled at medical universities in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, China, and Cuba.
In Pakistan, admission into medical and dental schools is a competitive process. Students must obtain high marks in their high-school examinations and medical college entrance tests.