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Parliament awaits data about perks of generals, officials

Updated Mar 27, 2017 08:27am


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ISLAMABAD: While members of parliament have repeatedly asked for information about the salaries, pensions and post-retirement benefits enjoyed by top government functionaries, answers have seldom been forthcoming.

But the Lahore High Court chief justice’s decision to make public details of his salary and perks, coupled with disclosures regarding the judiciary, may revive lawmakers’ interest in the matter of perks and privileges given to members of parliament, judges and senior officers from civil and military bureaucracy.

LHC Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah’s recent disclosure of what he earns has generally been met with praise, and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan even took to Twitter to voice his appreciation, saying: “Welcome move by CJ LHC to make pay/perks public. Recognition that accountability begins at the top. Others must follow.”

Government has revealed benefits enjoyed by judges

During the last question hour in the Senate, the government also disclosed details of post-retirement benefits available to judges and members of parliament in response to questions asked by Pakistan Peoples Party’s Farhatullah Babar. Similar questions about the officers from civil and military bureaucracy, however, have not been answered.

Law Minister Zahid Hamid informed the house that a chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) and a judge of the Supreme Court were entitled to a minimum of 70 per cent of their salary as pension, plus 5pc of their salary for each year of service completed.

But no reply has been received to similar questions, separately asked by Mr Babar, about the details of pensions and post-retirement benefits available to civil officers in grade 21 and above, as well as those of and above the rank of major general in the army, navy and air force.

The written reply to the question about senior civil bureaucrats, placed before the Senate on March 17, merely stated that the Establishment Division had transmitted this question to the Ministry of Finance, which had not accepted the question thus far.

The question about the armed forces’ officers was also not answered by the defence minister, who simply stated that the required information was still being collected.

It may be recalled that on Jan 26, 2017, the Inter-Services Public Relations had said that the question of allotment of agricultural land to a former army chief had the “potential to create misunderstandings between state institutions”.

“This debate with intent of maligning army also has the potential to create misunderstandings between state institutions, thus considered detrimental to existing cohesion,” it said, clarifying that the allotment of agricultural land to army officers and soldiers was made under the relevant constitutional provision.

“Allotment to former COAS Gen (retd) Raheel Sharif is also under same provision and through government/army procedures.”

Asked if he would pursue replies to the questions asked about the civil-military bureaucracy, Senator Babar said he had raised the issue and it was now for parliament to pursue the matter if it wanted to.

Judiciary’s perks

According to the information laid before the Senate, a retired CJP could receive pension between a minimum of Rs774,547 and a maximum of Rs896,636 per month, while a high court CJ could get between Rs687,984 and Rs759,964 per month.

SC judges received, on average, a pension of nearly Rs800,000 per month, while judges of high courts received Rs670,000 every month, the written reply said.

Upon retirement, an SC judge or his widow is also entitled to a driver and an orderly, 300 litres of petrol, round-the-clock security, 3,000 free local telephone calls a month, 2,000 units of electricity, free water, and 2,500 cubic metres of natural gas (which usually costs over Rs50,000).

No income tax is payable on these benefits and perks and a judge availing these facilities shall also undertake arbitration involving government interest, if assigned to him, without charging any fee.

A retired judge of the Supreme Court, if subsequently appointed to a post under the government, is also entitled to receive – in addition to his pension – the full pay, allowances and privileges of the post on which he has been re-employed.

However, the perks allowed to a retired chief justice and judges of a high court are suspended upon their re-employment with the federal or provincial government, the reply stated.

Upon retirement, a high court judge is entitled to the option of a driver or an orderly, 800 free local calls, 150 litres of petrol, 800 units of electricity, free water supply and 2,500 cubic metres of gas every month.

Like an SC judge, a high court judge is also required to undertake arbitration work without charging any fee. In addition, the judges of the superior judiciary are entitled to purchase the official vehicle that has been in their use, upon retirement at a depreciated value.

When asked whether any chief justice or judge had availed benefits over and above those allowed under the rules, the law ministry’s response stated that former chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry was provided a 6,000cc bulletproof Mercedes vehicle by the prime minister for three months.

The expenditure on fuel, repair and maintenance of this car was borne by the law division “on the directions of the Islamabad High Court”. It also details the litigation involving the vehicle provided to the former CJP, concluding that “this entire case is sub judice [for the past over three years]”.

In response to another question by Mr Babar, the parliamentary affairs minister had informed the Senate on Mar 9 that members of parliament were entitled to some facilities upon retirement, but not pension.

Post-retirement facilities for parliamentarians included healthcare as admissible to sitting members, free access to secretariats, libraries and lounges of parliament, a permanent entry pass to observe proceedings, the use of VIP lounges at airports and an official gratis passport.

Published in Dawn, March 27th, 2017


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Comments (23) Closed

TAMZA Mar 27, 2017 09:48am

No wonder the economy of the nation is in such dark state - these pensions are bring paid while borrowing from other countries.

A pension is NOT SUPPOSED to provide that level - by after 30 years of service the person does NOT NEED that level of income. ALL income and benefits MUST be taxed.

A DISGRACE - but great to see the transparency.

Khan Mar 27, 2017 09:53am

How can you expect a country to develop, if a retired professor gets 80,000 as pension and a judge, bureaucrat, military officers get pensions above 600,000. As a young asst professor, this makes me sad. The future of our young generation is in our hands and we are paid the least.

Khan Mar 27, 2017 09:59am

Mr farhatullah babar have remained in government for 5 years. Why did they not release these details in their government? Everything is politics, no one cares about the country.

Get Real Mar 27, 2017 10:06am

Oooo....transparency! It cuts deep!
Hahaha...those who need to answer must be hating these democratic rights!!

BOO Ali Mar 27, 2017 10:12am

Good initiative. THis legalized plundering of state resources should stop too.

ABE Mar 27, 2017 11:19am

Pakistani tax-payers are being robbed, left right and center, while there is supposedly a 'democracy'?

If the government has not been forthcoming about the data demanded by Parliament, than we can only assume, if is trying to protect the interests of PML-N and its connections with the retired personnal?

Without Checks and Balances, all we have is a Autocracy. Please don't pretend to even suggest it is a democracy. It reeks of Feifdom and a corrupt King.

Princess Mar 27, 2017 11:48am

Yes the right to information should be there and all Govt sectors should be included. Before a lieutenant becomes a General, he goes through a lot, tough tranings,Terrorism, LOC, Siachen, Afghan border etc How many times we hear the casualties of officers in any other Army? But in Pak Army our officers embrace martyrdom. Because our officers lead from the front. And always take care of their Jawans. We never know as the first day of the duty could be the last day of life. This all rounder army working everywhere even in floods Earthquakes etc. A General in not a story of political elite. It is a stroy of 30+ years of hard work where the life of a soldier is always on the line. I think that all security forces deserve good pay scales etc and honorable life after retirement. In developed countries they take good care of their employees after retirement. And even common people enjoy many benefits here.

Ibrahim Mar 27, 2017 11:48am

I cant comment on the fairness of the amount being paid but as a citizen i would comment that what is the public getting in return. How many cases has the high court and SC solved upholding the law. Numerous inquiries have been done, Rental power case, Memogate, Asghar Khan case, Model Town killings and recently Panama issue. No culprit apprehended. If they are getting hefty amounts they should be dispensing justice not serving the political parties and their families

AW Mar 27, 2017 01:19pm

The salaries, cars, residences, schools, servants, medical benefits, plots of land and pensions being paid by the public exchequer without the knowledge and approval of the public is a blatant violation of the public trust by those who are servants of the public. It is amazing to see the servants of the public and their families living a luxurious life while the public struggles to just put the food on the table.

Deepak Talwar Mar 27, 2017 01:17pm

These pensions and perks are astounding. In India the salary of a Supreme Court Judge is 2.75 lakhs pm. The pension I presume would be around Rs. 1.5 lakhs pm. Other Government employees get salaries below Rs.2.5 lakhs depending on their scale.Apart from pension and free medical, Government employees get no other perks on retirement. They have to pay full tax like everybody else.

Khaled Mar 27, 2017 01:30pm

Such whooping salaries, perks, privileges, plots, servants,petrol and what not, to in-service and pensioners both civil and military bureaucrats! no doubt the inflation has skyrocketed and tomatoes costing Rs.150 a kilo, leave alone other grocery items. A retired person in the private sector is not entitled to any pension and could never even have imagined such salary and perks during the whole year during service , what to talk about retirement benefits. And with the new budget proposal around the corner these parasites will again be clamoring for a 20% increase.

Maximus Mar 27, 2017 01:38pm

It's national security to hide information related to Army Generals !

Syed F. Hussaini Mar 27, 2017 01:49pm

If a judge could come out that honest, another could come out more honest.

Stop the plunder!

Syed F. Hussaini Mar 27, 2017 02:10pm

We have law schools, medical schools, engineering schools, police schools, military schools but no judge schools.

How could we have judges without any vocational training in being a judge?

patriot Mar 27, 2017 02:10pm

Statistics show that Judiciary, bureaucracy (Civil and Military) are the elite of this poor country where per ca pita income is only $1500 a year. Though transparency, but these facts are pinching where on the other side masses do not even have "luxury" of clean water, these heavy perks are un justified. Still military bureaucracy statistics yet to come!

Hafeez Mar 27, 2017 02:08pm

"tax-free pensions equivalent to salaries, cars, residences, schools, servants, medical benefits, plots of land, free petrol, gas, electricity, water, phone..." A true utopian welfare state for a select few, where perks & privileges change on an exponential scale - majority left to fight for basic necessities while others have everything like the winner takes all system!

Syed F. Hussaini Mar 27, 2017 02:37pm

Before being appointed, all candidate judges of high courts and the supreme court must appear before the national assembly and the senate to be reviewed for any past accusations, prosecutions and convictions.


M Jamal Mar 27, 2017 02:52pm

This is the highest level of hypocrisy and corrupt practices.Where the minimum wages of labour is Rs 14000 and pension of a professor is Rs80000 how come these politically pushed and influenced people get 10 times more pension of that of a professor.The simple reason is that to favour the corrupt government of the day till the last day of their job so that they get normal retirement to avail the highest paid pension in Pakistan.The fear is that if they do not tow the line of government they may have not reached the top or may have be unceremoniously removed from job.

Imran Ahmed Mar 27, 2017 04:02pm

Institutionalized corruption.

Raja Mar 27, 2017 04:52pm

Clearly, the weak incumbent PML N government is providing the cover to the higher ranking military officers' pay scale, perks, privileges and/or benefits.

Sami Mar 27, 2017 07:07pm

Of all these, 300 litres of petrol, 2,000 units of electricity, free water, and 2,500 cubic metres of natural gas (which usually costs over Rs50,000) SHOULD NOT be free. They should spend the money they receive in the form of pension for these facilities. This' a grave injustice. A common man is to pay for even 1 unit of electricity + PTV fee, while those who can easily afford are not meant to pay. In my eyes, it is a 'Corruption permitted under law'

Khaled Mar 27, 2017 07:53pm

@Syed F. Hussaini We do have judicial academies.

Syed F. Hussaini Mar 27, 2017 10:08pm