By: Faisal Ansar
Masses of our country are facing pragmatic hardships owing to steady rise of inflation which has caused real problems to them as well as on duty and retired government employees to make both ends meet. Government employees relatively draw less salaries as compared to what employees of private sector earns. In such circumstances, government has decided not to increase salaries of government employees and pension of retired employees in the budget 2020-21 and the justification made by government for no increase is COVID-19 owing to which record recession is observed world over. Further, government made a point that other countries have cut certain amount from the salaries of their government employees while our government has not done so and that was the only reason why annual increment was not allowed to government employees this year. In this context, it should well-understood be that government employees of other countries draw higher salaries than the employees of our country thus they can afford and bear the cut certain amount in their salaries. Moreover, there is no such inflation in their countries and their salaries are increased in proportion with inflation while here in our country common people as well as government employees are facing hardships to manage bread and butter for their families in record skyrocketing inflation since our country came into being. In this scenario, not allowing annual increment in salaries and pension is oppression and sheer injustice with government employees as annual increment is a right of every employee while the pensioners’ plight could be understood as they usually do not have other sources of income except their pension.
One of the main reasons for not allowing increment in salaries and pension of government employees is a condition set by IMF and moreover, IMF has recommended to stop pension facility to government employees for good because as per their assessment, if only one percent is increased in salaries and pension of government employees then expenditure would be increased up to 10 billion. In these circumstances, government employees have started opting for voluntarily retirement and last year three percent government employees have taken voluntary retirement in province of Punjab.
As government employees draw less salaries owing to which they face hardships to manage bread and butter for their families which primarily includes expenditure on health issues and education of children and how expensive education has become is well-known to everyone. These are the basic reasons for which government employees are facing pragmatic problems and condition of pensioners could be assessed that what anguish they have to go through as they do not have other sources of income but to reply only on their pension. Sadly, the sensitivity of these issues being faced by the government employees especially by retired employees is not realized by incumbent government. Just through rhetoric it is tried to satisfy masses that there is no such problem and no need to panic as everything is okay and going in right direction.
Day by day rise in inflation cannot be realized by them as they get everything handy and are landlord of many properties, entrepreneurs of many businesses on national and international levels so how they can realize the pain of common people who goes to government hospitals for medical treatment as they cannot afford to be treated in private hospitals which are very expensive. Plight of government hospitals is well-known to everyone and inexplicable. Businessman, MNAs and MPAs tend to go abroad for medical treatment which cost an arm and a leg to them but they afford it easily while it is out of question for on duty and retired government employees to get treatment abroad.
Due to these horrible reasons’ government employees decided to stage in, in front of parliament house in Islamabad with a hope that their grievances would be addressed as per their expectations but their endeavors gone in vain and they had come on roads to protest. Shelling fired on government employees while some of them were arrested. Subsequent, an accord was made that 25% increment would be allowed in salaries to government employees but so far, the ordain passed by government could not be materialized as notification is not yet issued while increase in pension to retired government employees could not be included in the accord between government employees and government which is not justified with retired government employees as this segment of the society which is most affected from inflation. Moreover, if salaries are not increased whilst prices of commodities are increased, doors for corruption are opened and to apprehend corrupt element of the society is appreciated but it is even more appreciated and wise to address issues which creates avenues for corruption and not allowing increment is one of them.