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January 23, 2020

EOBI secretary summoned for stopping pensionary benefits of victims’ heirs

Karachi

January 23, 2020

In a notice issued to the secretary of the Employees Old-Age Benefits Institution (EOBI) on Wednesday, the Sindh High Court (SHC) ordered the government official to inform the court as to why the pensinoary benefits of the Baldia Factory fire victims to their legal heirs had been stopped.

The notice was issued on a petition filed by Mohammad Tariq and family members of the Baldia Factory fire victims. The petitioners have moved the court against the non-payment of monetary compensation as per the orders of the high court.

The petitioner’s counsel, Usman Farooq, submitted that the SHC had ordered the payment of compensation to the legal heirs of the victims. He submitted that compensation was provided by the federal and provincial governments along with the social welfare department.

He submitted that the government had appointed the Sindh Employees Social Security Institute (Sessi) as the disbursement agency for the amount which was given by the Baldia factory owners and their international buyers. But, he added, the amount was being disbursed on a monthly basis like pension.

A division bench, headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar, observed that keeping in view the inflation rate, the monthly amount was not sufficient to meet the basic requirements by the heirs of the victims. The amount was only Rs5,000 to Rs7,000.

The court observed that the counsel for Sessi would take up the matter with the governing body for the possibility of increase in the monthly pension rate and that the lawyer would inform the court without prejudice about the contention raised by the petitioners.

Some of the legal heirs complained that their deceased children were also registered with the EOBI but it had stopped pensionary benefits after five years.

The court directed the provincial law officer to ensure appearance of the EOBI secretary who would reply as to why the pensinoary benefits of baldia factory fire victims to their legal heirs had been stopped. The court adjourned the hearing till February 19.

At least 259 employees of Ali Enterprise, a garments factory in Baldia Town, were burnt alive by activists of the Muttahida Quami Movement after the owners of the factory refused to pay Rs200 million as extortion in September 2012.