Pakistan’s recent pension reforms have sparked outrage among the poor and vulnerable segments of society, who fear that the new measures will deprive them of their basic income security and dignity in old age.
The reforms, announced by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Saturday, include the establishment of a Pension Fund, the abolishment of multiple pensions for officers of grade 17 and above, the limitation of pension payments to dependents for a maximum period of 10 years after the death of a pensioner and their spouse, and the option to choose between a pension or a salary for reemployed retirees.
While the government claims that these reforms are necessary to address the growing strain on the national budget caused by pension obligations and to create a more sustainable and efficient framework for managing pension payments, critics argue that they are unjust and unfair to the poor and marginalized groups who rely on pensions as their sole source of income.
The pension reforms have also been met with resistance from various civil society organizations, trade unions, and political parties, who have denounced them as anti-poor and anti-people. They have demanded that the government withdraw the reforms and consult with all stakeholders before making any changes to the pension system.
They have also called for increasing the minimum pension amount, indexing it to inflation, ensuring timely payment of pensions, and providing social protection to all senior citizens.
Pension reforms raise serious questions about the government’s commitment to social justice and human rights. By implementing these reforms, the government risks alienating a large segment of its population and creating more misery and hardship for the poor and vulnerable in Pakistan.