An elderly female teacher’s fruitless efforts imply that without greasing the officials’ palms, no one in the government schools could get his/her rights protected under the corrupt system being run in the country.

It may take five years or more to get a genuine and legitimate medical bill passed in Education Department, she said. The pathetic story of the teacher begins when she fell ill, was declared heart patient and underwent a by-pass surgery at Multan Institute of Cardiology in August 2009.

The 58 years old collected all the related documents and medical prescriptions duly attested by the MS after months’ effort and submitted her case to EDO (Education) office Khanewal for re-imbursement of the medical bill worth Rs165,750 which hanged in the balance for years.

In 2010, Kalsoom Akhtar succeeded in clinching an order from the Schools Department bearing No SO(SE-IV)10-121/2009 for the requisite amount; the order was dispatched by Secretary education office in late May 2010 to the EDO Khanewal office. But the staff including dealing clerk Zubair did not bother to inform the teacher until she received it from EDO office on June 29, 2010 at her village school Gobind Garh when the last date for submission of medical bills had expired.

As she had refused to pay bribe for getting the medical bill, she was advised gently by DAO to get this medical bill renewed and re-validated for the next financial year. She had no other option but to pursue again the same procedure starting from Tehsil education office Kabirwala to EDO office and then DPI schools Punjab.

She continued her efforts until got the medical bill revised without giving bribe. When she submitted this sanction order NO.SO (CE-IV)/2009 dated 24-12-2011, the district accounts officer returned the same to her with the remarks that ‘it did not carry the original medical certificate issued by MS Multan institute of cardiology in 2009’.

Meanwhile, the teacher retired but she did not lose hope and continued to fight the corrupt system. When she approached the concerned Section Officer in secretariat, she was surprised to know the version of EDO office clerk and after searching record proved that the important document had already been dispatched to and received by EDO Khanewal office in February 2010.

She again contacted the same official who then found the document. She then received the file but by then again the date for submission of bills in DAO Khanewal for the financial year 2011-2012 was over.

Afterwards, she moved the Lahore High Court Multan bench in early 2013; the court summoned the respondents and Education Department admitted their lethargy. From April 30, 2014 to May 1, 2014, the “stubborn” EDO office took no action and did not bother to follow up even on the court’s order. At last, the EDO education office wrote its first letter on the subject on 1st May, right after the expiry of one month with a copy to DCO Khanewal and the teacher. When contacted, EDO Rao Shahid was out of the city for a meeting while the clerk concerned vowed to follow up the case.