ISLAMABAD- Islamabad High Court directed the federal government to pay 20 per cent special allowance without any discrimination to the employees of all the attached departments and corporations of federal ministries.

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui issued these directions while hearing some 23 identical writ petitions moved by the employees of attached departments of federal ministries, seeking court's direction for the government to pay 20 per cent special allowance to the employees.

The petitioners included Capital Development Authority Mazdoor Union, Cabinet Division, National Centre for Rural Development, PWD workers federation, Pakistan Council for Science & Technology, National Archives, Department of Libraries, Federal Government College Teachers Association, and employees of some other departments.

They made ministry of finance and Prime Minister Secretariat as respondents in the petition and maintained before the court that the finance division during the tenure of former Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf had issued an office memorandum on March 06, 2013 wherein it was informed that the Prime Minister has approved 20 per cent special allowance to the employees working in the federal ministries/divisions and Prime Minister secretariat.

They further contended that the employees of federal government like employees of President's secretariat, Prime Minister Secretariat and Wafaqi Mohtasib's secretariat are already receiving special allowances equivalent up to 100 per cent of their basic pay whereas the employees of attached departments are not receiving such special allowances despite the fact that the later said employees also fall into the category of federal government employees.

Therefore, they prayed before the court to direct the government to indiscriminately pay the 20 per cent special allowance to all the employees of the federal government.

The representatives of finance ministry informed the court that special allowance is being given to only the employees of federal secretariat since their job nature is different from the employees of other departments. However, Justice Siddiqui observed that the court could not permit such discrimination with the employees of various government departments.

Later, the court disposed of the matter while allowing these identical petitions.

Sarabjit case

A one-member judicial commission comprising Justice Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi of the Lahore High Court (LHC) recorded statements of 38 witnesses so far with regard to murder of Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh.

Kot Lakhpat jail superintendent and other jail officials also testified before the commission.