THIS refers to several letters related to Employees’ Old-Age Benefits Institution (EOBI) and the plight of pensioners in recent times. I used to write on this issue, but soon gave up, realising that there was no hope for this neglected community. People at the helm of affairs know that these old and frail people cannot agitate like young doctors, lawyers and others do while exposing themselves to the risk of getting baton-charged and facing other brutalities of law-enforcement agencies. We have already seen a cluster of blind people, and many gatherings of students and nurses being fiercely beaten up while protesting for their rights. The retired pensioners will not have a fate any better.

I would rather advise my colleagues to be contented with whatever meagre amount they get as pension, even if it is as low as Rs8,500, and do not envy their peers in government and other services who get hefty sums as pension, and get a raise in every budgetary allocation. Do not mention that the minimum monthly wage fixed by the government is far higher and even that fails to keep pace with the inflationary prices of commodities.

Do not even mention that EOBI pensioners have to spend a serious amount of money on keeping themselves healthy in order to avoid dependence which they find below their dignity. Just keep getting that pension of Rs8,500 per month and be grateful. It is absolutely clear that EOBI pensioners are nowhere on the list of priorities of the government, and they should now accept it as their fate.

Malik ul Quddoos
Karachi

Published in Dawn, October 14th, 2021

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