Friday May 24, 2024

Ex-academicians, admin officers want early resolution of problems

By Yousaf Ali
May 15, 2024
Prof Dr Qibla Ayaz, ex-chairman of the Islamic Ideology Council and a former vice-chancellor of the University of Peshawar (UoP). — APP File
Prof Dr Qibla Ayaz, ex-chairman of the Islamic Ideology Council and a former vice-chancellor of the University of Peshawar (UoP). — APP File

PESHAWAR: Noted former academicians and administrative officers from various KP universities appeared before the media on Tuesday to seek an early resolution of their problems.

Prominent among them were Prof Dr Qibla Ayaz, ex-chairman of the Islamic Ideology Council and a former vice-chancellor of the University of Peshawar (UoP), Prof Dr Ihsan Ali, who headed several universities , Prof Dr Noor Mohammad, erstwhile vice-chancellor of the University of Engineering and Technology Peshawar, Prof Dr Arbab Khan Afridi, a former director of Institute of Education and Research (IER), UoP, who has also remained president Peshawar University of Peshawar, Dr Iftikhar Hussain, a former administrative officer of the UoP, former dean of UoP, Prof Dr Hafiz Abdul Ghafoor former director IER Prof Dr Abdur Rauf and others, who addressed the press conference.

Counting the issues faced by the retired employees of the universities, Dr Qibla Ayaz said the most urgent problem was that pension was not paid on time, which had made the miserable miserable for the retired employees.

“These employees have served universities for decades. But, an environment of uncertainty has been created for them. The delay is also a blatant violation of the decisions of the superior courts,” he said.

Each year when the government announces an increase in pension for all public sector employees, the same is delayed for the university pensioners for months. “The universities should ensure that the pending 10-month arrears in respect of the increase are released immediately,” he stressed.

Regarding the delayed payment of the commutation amount, he said the amount was normally paid to the employees on the day of their retirement. Unfortunately, the employees have been deprived of their due rights for years, he said.

“We strongly condemn this discrimination and exploitation of university employees. It also amounts to the violation of the verdicts of the superior judiciary. We demand immediate release of the commuted amount in favour of 103 employees of the University of Peshawar, and many other retired employees in other universities,” said Dr Qibla Ayaz.

The government had announced an increase in the orderly allowance, which has not been given to university pensioners despite high inflation and cost of living. An early increase and payment of the allowance to the retired employees should be ensured, he urged.

“Recently, it has been reported in the media that income tax will be imposed on pensions. Whereas, it is a universal practice that pensions and senior citizens are exempted from taxes, and the elderly receive other forms of support and subsidies from governments, it is lamentable that instead of extending benefits to the pensioners, the government is considering deepening their financial troubles,” he said.

He urged the government to ensure timely payment of pensions to the retired universities employees, release their commutations at the earliest, and pay their long-overdue 10 months’ arrears of the budgetary increase of 17.5 percent.

The retired employees called for an immediate raise in the orderly allowance to all university employees should be ensured and to take back the proposal to impose income tax on pensions. They stressed the need for establishment of Higher Education Commission at the provincial level and regular budgetary allocation for universities.

The retired employees said that overall enhancement in the budgetary allocations for higher education at the central and provincial levels would bring back intelligent minds to the higher education sector and create a better learning environment for future generations. “We will continue to advocate for the rights of the retired employees. We will continue our struggle till the resolution of the problems,” Dr Qibla Ayaz emphasised.

The retired employees expressed solidarity with the academic and para-academic staff of the University of Balochistan, and several other universities who have not received salaries and pensions for the last several months.