MANDI BAHAUDDIN-The ex-servicemen criticised the parliamentary committee for not removing the disparity in pension of the old and new pensioners.

In a meeting held at Pakistan Ex-Servicemen Society (PESS) district office, the PESS leaders said the parliamentarians do not know financial miseries of old veterans. After 1993, the increase on commuted portion of pension was stopped by government and since then increase is made only on running pension. Because of this cruel decision, a blatant disparity has developed between pension of soldiers retiring before 1995 and those retiring afterwards, they said.

They said it was good that the committee had recommended 20pc raise in the salaries and pension of serving and retired servants. But in order to narrow the existing gap between pensions of old and new pensioners it was imperative that 40pc increase be made in the pension of soldiers retiring in 1995 and before. They also pointed out that minimum pension of a widow is fixed as Rs6,000 per month. And in case a deceased soldier leaves behind two or more widows then pension of 6000 divided among the number of widows. This practice is not acceptable, they said.

The meeting demanded that every widow of retiree should get fixed pension amounting to Rs6,000 per month. The meeting praised JI Ameer Sirajul Haq for recommending 80pc increase in pension of 70 years old and above pensioners. They regretted negative response from finance secretary for opposing the proposal on the plea of ‘no fiscal space left’. An old veteran on this occasion said they worked hard when the country was in formative stage.

Ex-servicemen not only fought in defence of the homeland but also worked as labourers to build the roads, de-silted irrigation system and performed in aid of civil administration.

In floods and other calamities, their work was always appreciated at national and international level, he said. He further said it is unfortunate their services are not recognised by the rulers and bureaucrats. He said the country is safe with their sacrifices. He said the ex-servicemen are not beggars but will not hesitate to raise voice for their legitimate rights. He said since 1993, no increase is being made in their commuted portion which is great injustice to the veterans.

He demanded parliamentarians accept their genuine demand for raise in their pension according to the rising inflation so that they could pass their remaining days of life with respect and dignity.

FUNDS UTILISATION: Deputy Commissioner Hafiz Shaukat Ali has directed heads of all district government departments to ensure 100% utilisation of development funds within current financial year and complete ongoing development schemes in their scheduled time.

He was presiding over a meeting to review pace of development works at his office the other day. He also asked the participants to spend their full energy to take appropriate measures for maintaining balance in demand and supply of commodity items in Ramazan bazaars and open market.

He directed there should be no shortage of essential commodities in the bazaars, and prices must be kept under control to facilitate believers to observe fast. He added price control magistrates continue exercising vigilance in their respective areas and deal with those found overcharging customers. Addressing the revenue officers, he asked them to focus on hitting revenue recovery targets before the set red line.