The Supreme Court directed the government to pay Lady Health Workers (LHW) their salaries at their residences by Friday midnight, a day before Eid.
The directives of a three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, were applauded not only by the LHWs but also by the common employees.
The bench was hearing an application filed by the chairperson of Lady Health Workers Association, Bushra Arain, for initiating a contempt proceedings due to non-payment of salaries despite court orders.
Deputy Attorney General Aleem Abbasi told the court that the amount of salaries for the third quarter of the year had been deposited in the accounts of the provincial governments.
“This job had to be completed by July 15 but it was delayed,” the chief justice observed, adding that the finance division and the provinces are responsible for the delay.
Taking strict notice of non-payment of salaries to LHWs, Justice Chaudhry remarked: “Protection of fundamental rights of the citizens is a prime responsibility of the state”.
He also said that non-payment of salaries will constitute contempt of court against the officials concerned.
Advocates General of Punjab, Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhawa replied that the funds were transferred to the provinces Friday morning from the federation and that the salaries will be paid soon.
After a short break, a division bench directed all provincial governments to pay salaries to the LHWs by Friday midnight at any cost.
While seeking a compliance report from all four provincial finance secretaries and accountant general of Pakistan revenue (AGPR) by Saturday, the bench also asked Habib Bank and National Bank to remain open till the payment of salaries to LHWs.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 18th, 2012.