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Our correspondent
Monday, January 28, 2013
From Print Edition
 
 

 

Islamabad

 

The Association for the Welfare of Retired Persons (AWRP) in its executive body meeting has appreciated the action of federal government to issue notification for increasing special, additional pension and provision of orderly/driver allowance to the officer in BPS-20 and above on retirement.

 

This notification has been issued on the orders of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Earlier, this allowance was fixed at the rate prevailing at the time of officers’ retirement and has not been enhanced with the subsequent increases in the orderly allowance.

 

The notification of Finance Division says that the retired officers in BP-20 and above shall be paid special additional pension equal to the orderly allowance admissible to the serving officers from January 1, 2013, and whenever the government revised the rate of orderly allowance in future, the same increase shall be made applicable to the special additional pension of the retired officers.

 

The executive committee also called upon the federal government to issue another notification following the final decision of the Supreme Court to grant all the increases on the commuted portion of pension restored after 15 years, as this is the demand of justice and fairness. The EC says that final decision of SC took two long years when out of 28 petitioners two expired without availing relief given by the court.

 

It may be mentioned here that a case in this regard was filed in LHC by two petitioners namely A.A. Zuberi and Syed Abrar Hussain Naqvi having decision in their favour, the benefit of all increases on the restored commuted portion of pension was received by the petitioners by AG Lahore. When the other such petitioners approach the AG office Lahore, it refused to grant this relief to other petitioners.

 

They filed cases in Lahore High Court and Federal Services Tribunal, Islamabad. The FST in its decision said, “The issue has been resolved in that judgment however, the objection of the respondents in that in the said appeals Finance Division was not a party. Today we have heard the Finance Division also.” Two persons namely A. A. Zuberi and Syed Abarar Hussain Naqvi had filled the writ petition in the High Court and had succeeded in getting increase on the commuted pension. Their appeals in the Supreme Court were dismissed as time barred. It means that the judgment of the High Court has attained finality.

 

The Two pensioners were granted increases on the commuted pension. Aricle-25 of the Constitution of Pakistan guarantees equal treatment to all. When two pensioners had been granted increase it shall have to be granted to other pensioners also.

 

Thus the judgment of the tribunal, mentioned above has relevance when read in the light of the judgment of the High Court. Relevant part of the judgment of the tribunal is as under:

 

“In the light of judgment of the Lahore High Court confirmed by the apex Court and the judgment of the Punjab Service Tribunal we accept the appeals. The respondents are directed to determine of the pension of the appellants from the date of restoration of their commuted remaining pension. The arrears shall also be paid to them. It is also clarified that the appellants shall not be entitled to claim arrears for the period prior to restoration of their commuted pension.”

 

The FST further said that the cases filed in the tribunal are similar to the one decided by the tribunal on the strength of the judgment of the high court confirmed by the Supreme Court. The tribunal accordingly holds that applicants are entitled to increase to their commuted pension in the same manner.

 

The Finance division filed review petition in the Supreme Court against the judgment of FST, which was again dismissed. The Finance Division then filed Civil Miscellaneous Application (CMAs), which was turned down by the Supreme Court.

 

Chief Justice Ifhtikar Mohammad Chaudhry in his order said these CMAs are filed for restoration of the CMAs, which were filed for seeking permission to file and argue the review petitions. “When we enquired from the learned counsel for the petitioners as to whether any plausible ground has been given for restoration of the CMAs but he could not answer satisfactory and has failed to convince us to recall the order dated 13.09.2012 of this Court,” the order said.

 

“We have noticed that in a number of cases, no interest is shown by the learned counsel appearing for the Government of Pakistan, causing huge loss to government exchequer,” it said The instant CMAs are dismissed accordingly.

 

It may be mentioned here that commuted portion is restored at the age of 75 years, an age when very few pensioners survive. Govt. should give relief to such very senior pensioners whose days are numbered.

 

The relief in pension as narrated would prove SOS to them by the government.

 

The number of pensioners above 75 years is dropping rapidly accordingly to the report of Census Commission. It goes without saying that at this late stage of their life it is self-eliminating segment of the society. The government in future after 2001 has dropped the policy of restoration of the commuted portion of pension.