ISLAMABAD: A Senate panel on Monday criticised the Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd (PTCL) for not paying the due amount to its pensioners and decided to forward a complaint against its management.
Chairperson of the Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication Rubina Khalid assailed the information technology ministry for not taking the PTCL management’s malpractices into consideration.
“Being a senior officer in the ministry and one of the PTCL board’s members, can you tell us what have you done to resolve the issue of pensioners,” Ms Khalid said.
The committee was discussing a report of its subcommittee to probe the issue related to the pensions.
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Convener of the subcommittee Senator Rukhsana Zuberi briefed the committee on the overall situation of the pensioners and said that the pensions were being paid through the assets of the Pakistan Telecommunication Employees Trust (PTET).
Ms Zuberi accused the PTCL management and the PTET board of mismanagement and malpractices in the report.
Pension was increased by 10pc but pensioners are getting 5.5pc hike since 2010, Senate panel told
The report highlighted that the PTET board was not paying the pensions accordingly and the excuse taken in this regard was that the value of the assets had declined.
“Financial losses, incompetence and other lapses resulted in shrinking the financial strength and resultantly pensioners faced a difficult situation,” Ms Zuberi said, adding that the PTET board did not cooperate with the subcommittee, “nor did they provide any details that were demanded by us”.
The PTET was established on Jan 1, 1996 under the Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-organisation) Act, 1996, to disburse pension to PTCL pensioners. It is managed by a six-member board of trustees. Three of the members are appointed by the PTCL and three by the federal government belonging to the IT ministry.
The committee was informed that the Ufone tower in Blue Area was the property of PTET whereas the PTCL management and the PTET board had transferred its management control to a third party, which was getting the rent from that building.
Senator Mian Atiq pointed out that the cellular company was a subsidiary of the PTCL and asked the officials of ministry if Ufone was paying rent or profit to the PTET for using their property.
“So there is a need to involve all relevant agencies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), in the investigation to determine the legal status of transferring the PTET property to Ufone,” he said.
Senator Rehman Malik, who was a member of the subcommittee, called upon the committee to take stern action against those involved in siphoning off the PTET’s assets.
“I suggest that after the due procedures we should forward the case to FIA and NAB. This is essentially needed as the PTET board and the PTCL management are not even following the decision of Supreme Court to pay the pensions as per law,” he said.
The committee also heard the grievances of several retired employees, who informed it that the PTET was not increasing their pensions according to the increase announced by the government.
The employees said that the government had increased pensions at the rate of 10 per cent but the PTET board allowed 5.5pc hike only, and it has been done since 2010.
The subcommittee’s report was adopted by the standing committee and chairperson of the committee Rubina Khalid, while sympathising with the pensioners, announced that it would be laid before the Senate.
Senators Dr Shahzad Wasim, Rehman Malik, Mian Mohammad Atiq Sheikh and Sana Jamali also attended the meeting.