In a major development, prominent Pakistani lawyer Barrister Ahmad Pansota has taken decisive legal action to demand a retake of the Medical and Dental Colleges Admission Test (MDCAT) due to a cheating scandal that has shaken the education system in Pakistan.
Protests and Demands for Transparency
Even before the MDCAT 2023 took place, with more than 180,000 candidates registered, a wave of protests and demands for transparency and merit-based selection had already swept across Pakistan. Students and their supporters had been calling for a retake of the exam to ensure fairness and integrity.
Legal Action Begins
Responding to the mounting pressure and widespread dissatisfaction, Barrister Ahmad Pansota initiated legal action by serving a formal notice to the Pakistan Medical and Dental Commission (PMDC), a statutory regulatory body responsible for maintaining the official register of medical practitioners in Pakistan.
In a social media statement, Barrister Pansota announced, “On behalf of my client, Ms. Ariba, a Legal Notice has been sent to the Pakistan Medical Commission, seeking the cancellation of #MDCAT2023 and a thorough investigation into those responsible for leaking the examination paper and enabling cheating during the exams.“
Serious Allegations and Unfair Advantage
The legal notice outlined several serious allegations. It pointed out that prior to the examination, there was evidence of the entrance examination paper being leaked and circulated on various social media platforms. Subsequently, it was confirmed that the leaked paper matched the actual examination paper.
Furthermore, it was alleged that several questions in the exam were beyond the scope of the prescribed syllabus, placing students at a significant disadvantage. The notice emphasized that MDCAT 2023 was intended to be a provincial exam, not a national one. Despite this, at least eight questions in the examination were sourced from federal books and online materials that were not part of the provincial syllabus.
Questionable Scoring and Bluetooth Cheating
The notice raised concerns about the scoring, noting that candidates who had consistently been academically below average throughout their schooling suddenly achieved exceptionally high scores. Additionally, instances of Bluetooth cheating were reported in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), further eroding the credibility of the results. The potential existence of additional undetected cheating cases underscored the urgency of addressing the issue promptly.
A Call for Accountability
The legal notice held the PMDC accountable, stating that it had failed to conduct the exam fairly, as required under the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council Act of 2022 and other relevant laws. It characterized this as a matter of serious concern and accused the PMDC of causing serious and irreparable harm to the candidates who appeared for MDCAT 2023.
In light of these grave irregularities and to preserve the integrity of the examination process, the notice demanded an immediate inquiry into PMDC officials responsible for the paper leak and its distribution. It also called for the cancellation of MDCAT 2023 and the subsequent retake, emphasizing the principles of fairness and transparency.
Warning of Legal Action
The legal notice concluded with a stern warning: If the PMDC failed to comply with the demands outlined, legal proceedings, both civil and criminal, would be initiated at the High Court.
The legal action taken by Barrister Ahmad Pansota represents a significant step towards addressing the cheating scandal that has cast a shadow over the MDCAT 2023 examination. It reflects the determination to uphold fairness and integrity in the educational system and ensure that deserving students have a fair chance at securing their future in the medical and dental fields. The outcome of this legal battle will be closely watched by students, parents, and education authorities across Pakistan.