Senate Committee Lingers Over Unpaid Pensions Issue, Deliberates dissolving PTET

The Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunications expressed annoyance over the outstanding issue of increase in pension of PTCL pensioners and hinted at dissolving the Pakistan Telecommunication Employees Trust (PTET) in a meeting held here on Friday chaired by Senator Rubina Khalid.

Senator Rehman Malik said that PTET will be audited by an outside company. To scrap the Trust, a resolution will be brought in the House in this regard, he added. The committee observed that if the Trust is not functioning then an administrator should be appointed for it. The committee has also sought the decisions of the courts regarding pension rules and pensioners from the Trust authorities.

Rubina Khalid said that if the Trust is not running from them then it should be abolished, the purpose for which the trust was formed is not being achieved.

Kulsoom Parveen said that the parliament is supreme and its orders need to be implemented. “IT Minister and Hafeez Sheikh should also be called in the committee. IT Minister does not come in the committee, where are they? Parliamentarians raised questions saying that Shaukat Aziz was called to the committee. Federal Minister for IT Syed Amin ul Haq did not even come to a meeting,” she said.

Rukhsana Zubairi said that the Trust was not set up to stop people’s money and invests their capital which is being mismanaged. These criminal actions have taken place. The minutes of the Trust meeting were requested for but they were not given, said she adding that they asked about the assets of the Trust but nothing was disclosed.

The chairperson of the committee asked the Pakistan Telecommunication Employees Trust (PTET) member what is the definition of the Trust. Federal Secretary IT Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui said that he is an unconventional officer;

“It is not my job to make laws. The Senate is very respectful, immediate response is a priority. If it had been my pen’s prerogative to increase pensions, the decision will have been made long ago. This is the corporate sector. I forwarded the Senate’s instructions to the PTET.”

“Our ministry is not responsible for giving a single rupee of pension. The law says that the decision will be taken by a majority of PTET”, the secretary said, adding that increasing the pension of pensioners is an obstacle by law and change is needed.

Senator Faisal Javed said that the secretary was saying that the law is the obstacle and it is necessary to change it. Senator Rehman Malik said that it would take time to make the law. According to the rules, pensioners should get pension increase. We are the representatives of the people. The work is being sabotaged. I am bringing two cases against them. We followed all the procedures. We prepared the report, brought it to the House, he added.

However, it has not been implemented in 190 days. According to the old rules, the recommendations of the committee should be implemented. Pensioners are only demanding their rights. Senator Rehman Malik said that the board has no authority not to increase the pension. It is a case of FIA where many will go inside.

The law is being violated here. Member PETT said that the pension of some pensioners has also been increased on the order of the court. Malik said that the Supreme Court has decided in 2018 to increase the pension of all.