The Lahore High Court on Wednesday ordered the Finance Department to double the pension amount it owes to retired employees over the age of 75 and pay them immediately.
Justice Muhammad Khalid Mahmood Khan of the LHC issued the order on a contempt of court petition moved by Ahmad Goraya and 19 other retired employees of various departments.
Justice Khan ordered the special secretary (Finance) to pay the complete amount of cumulative pension to the petitioners within 24 hours and to submit a compliance report before the court on Thursday (today).
Otherwise, the judge warned, the ‘disobedient officials’ would have to face the music.
The petitioners had prayed for the release of cumulative pension.
They submitted that according to the rules, the pension for former government servants is supposed to be doubled after 15 years.
Special Finance Secretary Hamid Yaqood Sheikh, who appeared on behalf of the finance secretary, requested the court to allow the department more time to consider the petitioners’ case.
He said that the secretary was in Turkey on official business and the issue couldn’t be resolved in his absence.
The petitioners’ counsel opposed Sheikh’s request and informed the court that three petitioners — Chaudhry Abdul Rauf, Bashir Ahmad and Arshad Majeed — had died while waiting for the Finance Department to release their pension money.
Advocate Afzal Shahin Pirzada said the petitioners were over 75 and “don’t know how much longer they have to live”, so the government must not delay the release of their pensions.
The counsel said that earlier the High Court and the Supreme Court had also ordered that the department pay the retired employees their cumulative pension.
The Finance Department, said Pirzada, wanted to delay the issue making “lame excuses” instead of complying with the courts’ orders. He said that the Punjab Accountant General had also recommended that the department pay the retirees.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 27th, 2012.