The new federal budget for the financial year 2020-21 is currently being finalised by the concerned ministries and is likely to be presented on, or around, 12 June in the National Assembly. The federal government is facing very serious economic challenges, among other problems due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but is still expected to give some form relief to both serving and retired government officials.

Whatever ad hoc relief those currently serving shall be provided, the same should be doubled for retired officials who rely solely on their pension and are more often than not living in rented premises. Pensioners who retired prior to the turn of the century should be given special consideration as salaries at those times were quite low, subsequently leading to low pensions as well. The other day, a former deputy from Radio Pakistan who retired in 1999, stated that his pension is less than those who have retired as recently as two years before. This is because the PPP government had substantially increased the salaries of currently serving government officials ahead of the 2013 elections without an increase in pensions.

Over the years, all civilian and military governments have been treating serving and retired public officials with meagre returns in terms of the provision of ad hoc relief.

In view of the brief outlook provided, I request the Prime Minister and the federal government to substantially increase pension reliefs so that those who have served their country may live the rest of their lives comfortably.