A RECENT circular from Society of Former PIA Officers (SOFPO) says: “restoration of commuted part of pensions is not legally tenable as per pension rules.” Strange!
Every single organisation, government or non-government, restores full pensions without fail after 10 years of commutation. Are they violating the law in some way?
There are three simple steps to commutation: (1) The pensioner receives five years of pension in advance on retirement. (2) He pays back this amount by accepting half pension for 10 years. (3) His full pension is restored after 10 years of retirement.
PIA has a complete ‘memory lapse’ on the third step. Why?
PIA veterans were in the forefront during major wars. Air spaces were blocked. A crippling arms embargo was slapped on Pakistan. Only PIA could provide a fleet of high-altitude, long-range, heavy jets. They volunteered most willingly, way beyond the call of duty.
Many PIA pilots still lie in their watery graves in the ocean around the Indian peninsula. Indian fighter aircraft had to be dodged. Ground fire from the Mukti Bahini in the Dhaka vicinity was menacing.
A Boeing 707 even crashed on a frozen lake near the Urmuqi runway (China) in 1971.
However, PAF high-rankers in positions of authority in PIA look the other way when the restoration of PIA pensions comes up, although they themselves draw fully restored pensions promptly from the air force after completing 10 years of ‘commutation’.
PIA octogenarians who still live have paid back the commuted part of their pensions many times over but are condemned to receive half pension for the rest of their lives. God bless PIA!
It is about time PIA restored these pensions instead of hiding behind self-created legalities.
Capt Afaq Rizvi
Published in Dawn, May 8th, 2019