AT a time when gorgeous executive allowance has been sanctioned for three ministries/departments besides honoraria worth five basic salaries for officers and staff of all ministries and departments covering budget session of Parliament and honorarium worth one basic pay for all employees of 58 ministries and departments from grade-1 to 22, Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (Radio Pakistan) is receiving step-motherly treatment as it is not getting enough funds to ensure payment of pension and salary to its employees.
Faced with the critical shortage of funds, the PBC management has reportedly diverted the entire amount of pension for June to pay enhanced salaries to its employees, creating enormous problems for four thousand pensioners and their families ahead of Eidul Azha.
Misappropriation of pension funds is a unique example of insensitivity towards the plight of the senior citizens and their families, who receive priority in welfare initiatives in the entire civilized world.
According to reports, the pensioners took up this serious issue with the management of the PBC but no satisfactory response was given, forcing them to approach the Federal Ombudsman Office, which promptly responded but could not ensure relief due to some technicalities.
The pensioners justifiably complain that the Finance Ministry has the money and resources to pay for the executive allowance and honoraria worth billions of rupees but cannot provide just Rs 180 million to mitigate problems of senior citizens.
It may also be pointed out that apart from non-payment of pension for June, pensioners of PBC have not yet received the 10% increase in pension that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif announced w.e.f.
April 2022, frustrating the very purpose of the instant relief that the Government provided to its pensioners even ahead of the federal budget.
In fact, it was because of the constant denial of the relief that other employees and pensioners got every year that the PBC was forced to revert back to Government Pay Scales but continuation of the financial woes is a confirmation that the problem has its origin in the bureaucratic attitude of the decision-makers.
Non-payment of pensions and 10% increase reflects poorly on implementation of the Government decisions and we hope Ministers for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb and Finance Minister Miftah Ismail would take personal interest to resolve the issue at the earliest.