Ombudsman Punjab Javed Mahmood has written letters to Auditor General of Pakistan and Controller General of Accounts Pakistan to intervene and play their constitutional role in providing legal right of double pension to the pensioners of 75 and above. He has pointed out that Auditor General of Pakistan and Controller General of Accounts Pakistan have been entrusted in Auditor General of Pakistan and Controller General of Accounts Ordinance 2001 to pre audit of pensions of government employees throughout the country both should play their constitutional role in the issue as Federal Government as well as provincial governments of Khaiber Pakhtoonkha, Sindh and Balouchistan have already been paying double pension to the retired employees of 75 and above.
Punjab Finance Department is interpreting the judgment orders of Superior Courts according to its wish which tantamount not only to deride the haplessness of poor old pensioners but judgment orders also. Establishment of “Complaints Cell” at Lahore by Punjab Finance Department after judgment orders to restore double pension for the pensioners of 75 and above is illegal. This is pointed out in a letter written by the Ombudsman Punjab Office to Finance Secretary Punjab following the issue of arrears of double pension to retired government employees of 75 and above. Copies of the letter have also been forwarded to all Administrative Secretaries, Commissioners, Heads of Attached Departments, DCO’s, Accountant General Punjab and all DAOs, say the letters.
Pensioners Day was celebrated in all offices of Ombudsman Punjab today in this connection, a large number of retired govt. employees attended. Wazir Ahmad Qurseshi, Incharge Mohtasib Punjab Pension Cell, pointed out that Supreme Court of Pakistan in its judicial order on March 31, 2014, declared pensioners of 75 and above entitled for restoration of pension (double pension). Poor old pensioners had to fight their case at Punjab Services Tribunal, Lahore High Court, Federal Services Tribunal and Supreme Court of Pakistan and finally won. In compliance to the court orders Federal Govt. and provincial governments of KPK, Sind and Balouchistan started payment of pension arrears to the pensioners of 75 and above but retired employees of the Punjab could not get the fruits of the court orders. As the compliance of the orders of superior court was denied so poor pensioners again went into legal combat and filed a contempt of court petition at Lahore High Court. Punjab Finance Department agreed and ensured to pay legal arrears of pension to the retired government employees of 75 and above and submitted a payment plan according to which the cases of all the entitled pensioners were required to be taken up from February 01, 2015 as the court orders were in rem requiring not to go court by the individual pensioner. Finance Department Punjab, in place of issuing a notification following the court orders and making arrangements for smooth payment of arrears of pension, established a “Complaint Cell” at Lahore and directed the old pensioners of 75 and above to appear in the ‘cell’ and get their cases cleared before further processing. Directions to appear in centrally controlled Complaint Cell at Lahore, for scrutiny, personal hearing etc in old age with trouble and wastage of money blended with treatment of the staff of the “Cell”, would be nothing but apprehended mishandling of old aged respectable pensioners. In terms of provision of Controller General of Accounts Ordinance, 2001, it is the prerogative of the CGA, through its subordinate offices i.e. AG Punjab and the District Accounts Offices to exercise prescribed pre-audit checks on cases of restoration of commuted portion of pension before payment of arrears, so accrued, is paid by DAOs/TO Lahore. The functions of AG and DAOs have been attempted to be assumed by the “Complaint Cell” despite the fact that the “Complaint Cell” is not in possession of any of record needed for restoration of commuted portion of pension. According to rules the arrears of pension would by paid from the DAO from where already pension is being drawn. The real course of action, in terms of delivery of the benefits of the Judgment of court was the establishment of “Special Cell” in AG Punjab and DAOs in the Punjab, aimed at to ensure speedy, prompt and effective revision of pension of all pensioners without the personal visits of the pensioners.