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Divorced daughters, unmarried sisters also entitled to family pension: ombudsman

LAHORE: The Punjab government, following the directions of Punjab ombudsman, has made amendment in the Punjab Pension Rules according to which divorced daughter and unmarried sister of the deceased government employee would also be entitled for grant of family pension till life after his widow, infants and unmarried daughters.

The Punjab Finance Department has issued amended notification and copies of the same have been sent to all administrative secretaries, heads of the attached departments, DCOs, Lahore High Court, accountant general Punjab, all district advisers of the ombudsman Punjab and District Accounts Officers for compliance with effect from May 15, 2013.

According to details, Samina Gulnar Khanam, and Zubaida Bibi, divorced daughters of deceased government employees Fazal Hussain and Abdul Rahim respectively, lodged applications to the Punjab ombudsman that they had no regular source of income after the death of the their father and the payment of family pension was also stopped as they were not entitled for the same as per existing rules although they were dependent in their houses.

In similar applications addressed to the ombudsman, Sakina Begum and Ata Bibi, unmarried sisters of late Shafqat Ara, and late Hajira Begum respectively pointed out that they were dependent in the home of their sisters which were government employees but payment of pension was stopped with their death. Ombudsman Javed Mahmood directed Incharge Mohtasib Punjab Pension Cell Wazir Ahmad Qureshi to probe the issue and submit recommendations for appropriate amendments in existing rules.

The ombudsman was told that as per Finance Department’s notification, the divorced daughter was entitled for grant of family pension till her re-marriage in 2013. The ombudsman observed that the widowed daughters and unmarried sisters of the deceased pensioners’ civil servant, wholly dependent and residing with the deceased pensioners, do face the similar agonies and miseries as the widowed daughter and unmarried sister of the late father and late brother.

The categories of divorced daughters and unmarried sister are left with no regular income to support their livelihood, health care and social society after losing the shelter of father and brother, said the Punjab ombudsman. The complainants lost necessities of life such as food, housing, education and medical relief. The safeguard for its citizen provided under Articles 9 and 38 of the Constitution made the State responsible to provide basic necessities of life such as food, housing, education and medical relief.

The inclusion of widowed daughter in amended notification dated May 15, 2013 for the grant of family pension justified the implementation of the provisions of Constitution but the case of divorced daughter and unmarried sisters tended to commensurate with the case of widowed daughter, who already brought parallel to the unmarried daughter for the purpose of grant of family pension which is discriminate and prohibited under the provisions of article 25 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The ombudsman directed the Punjab government to make amendments accordingly to include the divorced daughter and unmarried sister as well in the Punjab Pension Rules.

Daily Times