THE government has announced a 10 per cent increase in pensions. It is ridiculous. It would have been more appropriate if this raise was not given as it is not going to serve any purpose at all. In fact, the raise in pension has to be in line with the ever-increasing inflation.
There is a big difference in the pension of retired army officers and those of new pensioners and old pensioners.
Some time ago, the Supreme Court had opined that the pension should be in line with the existing scale of pension. But this issue is still pending and needs to be expedited.
Officers of the armed forces, who retire at an early age, are the most affected persons and seldom find jobs except one star-to three-star generals who immediately get better jobs with hefty perks and privileges but must qualify condition being close to the army chief and corps commanders. This is a system inherited from the past
Since this parity between the haves and have-nots cannot be removed due to the vicious circle, the only remedy is that the pension of those who retired in the 1980s and onwards should be doubled and the government should devise a clear-cut policy of re-employment of armed forces officers where only senior officers are entertained and juniors are left at the mercy of God.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in his last tenure, had promised certain concessions to senior citizens but it was never implemented. With such heavy mandate it is time he treated senior citizens with honour and dignity as practised in the rest of the world.
To start with, he may consider revising pension from 10 to 20 per cent, allowing 50 per cent concession in rail and airfare, and stay in government rest-houses at subsidised rates.
Let all these people live their last days honourably and gracefully in a society where once they enjoyed respectable positions.
LT-COL (r) MUKHTAR AHMED BUTT