Salim AhmedTuesday, March 20, 2012 - Lahore—Punjab Government has decided to implement orders of Ombudsman Punjab for the payment of Living Allowance to 116,379 pensioners of Punjab Government @ 7 % of the basic salary with effect from 1st April 2012. Finance Department has issued notification in compliance of the orders of Ombudsman Punjab. According to notification, the revised pension including 7% of the Living Allowance will be disbursed with effect from 1st April 2012 and arrears of pension and commutation value of pension for the period prior to 1st April 2012 will be paid in three equal installments. First installment will become due for disbursement on 1st April, 2012, second installment on 1st October 2012 and the third one on 1st January 2013. Finance Department has endorsed the copies of notification to State Bank of Pakistan, National Bank of Pakistan, Finance Secretaries to other provinces, Director General Audit Punjab, Accountant General Punjab and other concerned authorities for smooth disbursement of pension and arrears
Ombudsman Punjab had ordered Punjab Government pension to restore Living Allowance of those 116,379 pensioners of the Punjab government who did not opt for Revised Pay Scales in 2001and issue notification regarding re-fixation of pension by including the cost of living allowance @ 7% of basic pay. Ombudsman Punjab issued orders for restoration of living allowance of retired employees from grade 1 to 22 on the complaint of a retired Naib Qasid and two teachers.
According to details, Mushtaq Ahmad, Naib Qasid and two schools teachers belonging to Kasur and Sheikhupura Amanullah and Muhammad Iqbal Hussain Awan lodged a complaint to Ombudsman Punjab that they retired from service before introduction of Revised Basic Pay Scales 2011 and were receiving living allowance @ 7% of pay before retirement which was not counted while calculating their pensions. Punjab government froze the same for all employees without discrimination. Actually, it applied only on those who opted for the Revised Pay Scale 2001.
Ombudsman Punjab directed Wazir Ahmad Qureshi, Consultant Ombudsman Office to probe the issue. It was disclosed during course of inquiry that the employees of Federal as well as Sindh and Balochistan governments were receiving living allowance and the employees of Punjab government were deprived of the same.
He refused to entertain the argument of the Punjab Government that provincial government was not bound to adopt every policy / decision of the federal government.
Consultant Ombudsman Punjab categorically conveyed that Provincial Government was bound to follow the policies of the Federal Government in matters relating to pay, allowances and pension of the government employees.
Availability of financial benefit to Federal, Sindh and Balochistan Government employees / pensioners and denial of the same to Punjab government employees / pensioners, when facts and circumstances were the same, is considered an act of discrimination and repugnant to article 25 of the constitution, maintained Ombudsman Punjab. He directed Punjab Government and Secretary Finance to immediately issue notification regarding re-fixation of pension of those 116,379 provincial pensioners, who had not availed the benefit of revised pay scale 2001 by including the cost of living allowance @ 7% of their pay.
Finance Department, in its notification, has asked the pensioners to approach Accountant General Punjab and District Accounts Offices for re-fixation of the pension while Consultant Ombudsman Punjab Wazir Ahmad Qureshi has directed Accountant General Punjab to establish special counters for the facilitation of more than 100,000 pensioners as all are above the age of 70 years. He has also directed to make such arrangements that the old pensioners do not have to visit his office again and again merely for pension re-fixation.