The provincial Ombudsman 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.
Naib Qasid Mushtaq Ahmad and teachers Amanullah and Muhammad Iqbal Hussain Awan lodged complaints that they retired from service before introduction of Revised Basic Pay Scales 2011 and were receiving living allowance seven percent of pay before retirement which was not counted while calculating their pensions.
The Punjab government had frozen the same for all employees without discrimination. Actually, it applied only on those who opted for the Revised Pay Scales 2001.
The Punjab Ombudsman directed Consultant Ombudsman Punjab Wazir Ahmad Qureshi to probe into the issue. It was disclosed during course of inquiry that the employees of the 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 the 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 Punjab Ombudsman.
He directed the Punjab Government and Finance Secretary to immediately issue notification regarding re-fixation of pension of those 116,379 provincial pensioners, who had not availed the benefit of Revised Pay Scales 2001 by including the cost of living allowance at the rate of seven percent of their pay.
The Consultant Punjab Ombudsman has directed Accountant General Punjab to establish special counters for the facilitation of more than one 10,0000 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.