Dignity of labor, especially for the vulnerable groups, is the first duty of any state. The Pakistani state has rarely ever lived up to this task.
A recent incident was brought to the fore by Pakistan’s leading human rights group, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP). HRCP came out in support of the demands of former employees of Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) to receive the increase in pensions that they are entitled to since 2010, with payment of arrears.
According to news stories, “Around 40,000 retired employees have not been paid their fair share of pensions by the Pakistan Telecommunications Employees Trust (PTET) since 2010, following a federal government notification announcing an increase in pensions payable. These pensioners have also been deprived of medical allowances, which were added to federal employees’ pensions in 2010.”
While this case has been presented at numerous forums, HRCP noted, “there is still a clear need for decisive action. The Supreme Court ruled in favour of the pensioners in 2015; a Senate Standing Committee took notice of this violation in 2019; and the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications also issued directives to PTET in subsequent years to comply. It is deeply concerning that, despite promises made directly to the pensioners as well, the PTET has withheld the increase in pensions to date.”
The HRCP warned that “failure to implement such directives not only flouts the authority of the government and judiciary, but also disregards the pensioners’ right to dignity of labour, particularly for vulnerable groups such as widows and the elderly. HRCP demands that the state take notice of the PTCL pensioners’ longstanding demands and hold their employer accountable for failure to comply.”