Journalist and author Shafqat Tanvir Mirza has asked the Lahore High Court to get his pension, withheld by the National Press Trust (formerly Progressive Papers Limited) for 25 years, released so he can get treatment for lung cancer.
Mirza’s lawyer Maqsooma Zahra Bokhari asked the court to direct the respondents to pay her client approximately Rs1.2 million immediately. The petitioner was the editor of the Daily Imroz, which was owned by Progressive Papers Ltd (PPL).
He had joined the PPL in 1963 and was in service for over 25 years. As per Section 7 (ii) of the PPL Pension Rules, 1985, he was entitled to receive 50 per cent of his last pay drawn as his pension.
The Daily Imroz was privatised in 1991 and Mirza lost his job. Like other PPL employees, he was allowed all his pension and other benefits. However, the pension was stopped without explanation on December 1, 1996.
After a long legal battle, the Supreme Court ruled in their favour. On the court’s directions, the petitioner and other PPL employees filed an appeal before the Punjab Labour Court which, on May 7, 2011, also ruled in favour of Mirza and 21 other former PPL employees.
Bokhari said that following the court judgments, the respondents gave the petitioner “financial help” of Rs50,000. However, Mirza returned the money, asserting that he wanted his rightful pension along with the increments which came to almost Rs1.2 million rather than accept “charity” from the public.
Justice Farrukh Irfan Khan will take up this petition on Wednesday.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 28th, 2012.