LAHORE: The recently granted pay package to the Punjab Police and bureaucracy has hit a controversy regarding the criteria the government formulated to decide the percentage of the allowances for officers of all the services.
The Punjab government recently granted executive allowance to all the officers posted by the Services and General Administration Department (S&GAD) and fixed daily allowance (FDA) to police officers. Salaries were increased mainly of the Police Service of Pakistan (PSP) and the Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS); the officers of the Provincial Management Service (PMS) also received the same increase in pay granted to the PAS officers.
The S&GAD issued separate notifications on July 29 after the governor approved a summary to this effect.
Bureaucrats to get pay raise of Rs150,000, police a minor Rs12,000 under new package
The criteria for determining the allowance was questioned when the gross salary status of police officers and bureaucrats was compared, which revealed a disparity between the two and created unrest among policemen, an official privy to information told Dawn.
He said the senior command of the police went into discussion mode when they found out that under the new pay package, a PAS/PMS officer in BPS-17 is most likely to get paid more than a police officer serving in BPS-21.
On the request of senior officers, Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) Arif Nawaz Khan plans to take up matter with Chief Minister Usman Buzdar most probably this week, he said.
As per the pay package, the police officers would get a minor pay increase of Rs12,000 and the bureaucrats Rs150,000.
According to the notification -- a copy of which is available with Dawn, the government enhanced FDA of the police officers, which was frozen in 2005. The notification reads: “The Punjab governor has been pleased to grant the 20 days FDA @ 80% of the rates of Special Duty as admissible in the year 2013 w.e.f July 1, 2019 instead of as admissible in the year 2005.”
After adjusting to the rate of 2013, the increase comes up from Rs2,000 to Rs12,000 for the police officers in BPS-7 to BPS-21 -- less than five per cent of their current basic pay.
On the other hand, officers of other services will get a 150pc increase in their basic pay in the form of executive allowance. The notification reads: “In pursuance of cabinet decision and under the provisions of section 23 of Punjab Civil Servants Act 1974, the governor of Punjab [is] pleased to grant executive allowance at the rate of 1.5 times of the monthly basic pay w.e.f July 1, 2019 to all officers posted by S&GAD.”
The executive allowance will raise the salaries of the PAS/PMS officers between Rs100,000 and Rs190,000. In the case of FDA, he added, the police officers will get approximately Rs12,600 to Rs28,000.
The IGP may request the Punjab government for amendments to consider the police officers too for the executive allowance, he said.
Dawn spoke to some senior police officers who shed light on the background of the frozen allowance and other factors that led to disappointment within the community.
A police officer said that the rationale for FDA was that the police was meant to prevent and detect crime, respond to law and order situations and maintain peace in society. However, since 2000, due to a peculiar environment, additional duties increased manifold – over four hours on average in addition to the 12-hour duty, making it a 16-hour day, he added.
The international standard for any standing and static guard is two hours. “Our armed forces kept it to four hours maximum, while one shift in the police for standing and static guard/duty is from eight to 12 hours,” the official went on to say.
He asserted that the allowance granted by the government to police officers was not a favour, but a right admissible to them long ago. The police officers required the executive allowance keeping in view the stressful job, long duty hours and the associated risks.
Another senior officer said the number of posts from BPS-17 to BPS-22 in the police was much less than that of PAS/PMS, hence lesser financial implication. Since the police officers perform their duties from 10 to 12 hours a day as compared to an eight-hour shift of PAS/PMS officers, the exceptional provision of executive allowance to the bureaucrats would violate the principle of ‘equal pay for equal work’. “The discriminatory salary package is likely to result in brain drain and encourage competent and professional senior police officers to explore other incentivised opportunities,” he added.
He further said the civil servants resorted to agitation and protests through their associations to take up their issues with the authorities, but the police could not do so being a disciplined force. The executive allowance was a new thing and should have been issued across the service groups not merely to the PAS officers, he exclaimed.
“Definitely, the executive allowance has given the bureaucracy a visible edge over the police,” said another officer.
He said police were among few others who worked 24/7 and their duties have increased manifold keeping in view terrorist activities. “Despite this situation, if the gross salary of a Grade 18 PAS officer will be more than a Grade 21 police officer, the morale of police will definitely go down,” he claimed.
Published in Dawn, August 19th, 2019