Dec 25: THE government has constituted a Pay and Pension Committee to ameliorate the lot of its working and retired employees. The government deserves our appreciation regarding it.
The committee has finalised and submitted its report to the government, recommending certain financial relief for its present employees, as well as for its pensioners.
Availing myself of this opportunity, I would like to mention with regret that the government’s past decisions have brought about disparities in the rates of pension. This has resulted in the creation of different pensions within the same class of pensioners.
Government employees who had retired on or before June 30, 1986 are the worst sufferers of pensionary benefits as the pay scales that existed at the time were low, the basis on which pensions and commutations were calculated, resulting in low rates of both pension as well as of commutation. Only a negligible, i.e. 10 per cent, increase in pension was sanctioned at the time which was lost due to the subsequent increase in the prices of daily-use items.
It is recalled that the Federal Ombudsman in the past had seriously viewed the vast disparities in the rates of pension, as pointed out in his detailed categorical findings with advice to the government for the removal of such disparities.
The Federal Shariyat Court had also considered it and had given a similar decision.
All pensioners are equal in their respective grades, irrespective of their date of retirement. All are living in the same society, facing similar socioeconomic problems. Therefore, there should not have been any disproportion in the rates of pension.However, sadly the then government had regretted to honour the above advice/decision on the plea of paucity of funds. This has caused injustice to old pensioners and is also contrary to Islamic principles and the constitution.
The old pensioners are a weak, ailing and diminishing community. A formidable increase in the prices of edibles and other important items has made their life even more miserable.
It is appealed to the prime minister to consider the plight of old pensioners who had retired on or before June 30, 1986 and sanction a suitable increase in their pension. Besides, all disparities in the rates of pension should be removed as soon as possible. This is bound to eliminate all feelings of frustration and helplessness among the old pensioners.
A letter by HASEEN AHMED SIDDIQUI
Published by Daily Dawn on Dec 25, 2012