A final hearing of a case involving banks’ outstanding payments to pensioners was held in Islamabad where Supreme Court of Pakistan under the presence of Honorable Chief Justice Mr. Justice Mian Saqib Nisar advised the United Bank, Habib Bank, and Allied Bank to pay minimum pension to retired employees – including their widows – with immediate effect. The judgement, however, will be prospective, onward from the date of judgment (13th of February, 2018).
The Suo Moto proceedings that initiated on 14th of November, 2016, after a large number of complaints were submitted to the Human Rights Cell of Supreme Court against the United Bank Ltd., Allied Bank Ltd., and Habib Bank Ltd. mentioning the grievances of the employees who complained of being paid a meagre amount in the form of pensions was closed on 11th of February after a judgement was given by the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court after reviewing all the relevant facts and figures passed the following judgement in the final hearing: “With immediate effect the minimum pension paid to any pensioner (including their widows, where applicable) of UBL, HBL and ABL will be Rs. 8,000 (rupees eight thousand) per month”.
Furthermore, regarding the case of annual increase it advised banks, “There will be an increase of 5% in the aforesaid pension every year, effective on the 1st of January every year.” The Supreme Court judgement also informed both the parties regarding the implementation of judgement that, “The payments will be prospective, that is, from the date of this judgment”.
The complainants had maintained that increases in their pensions by the trio of banks were illegally withheld after the banks were privatized from the Government’s control.
After considering complex legalities, listening to consultations on the different techniques for calculation of respective pensions, the Supreme Court keeping in view the demand for the complainants also appreciated the banks’ generosity and participation to “enhance the … amount voluntarily offered by the banks”.
The unanimous ruling affecting all of the complainants and the banks, it gave the judgement that, “The aforesaid pension will be paid to all three categories of pensioners mentioned above, i.e. the “original retirees”, those whose pensions were linked to basic pay “frozen” in past years, and in the case of UBL to retrenched employees including those who had served the bank for more than ten years on the date of retrenchment.”
“it is clarified that the pension of employees who are receiving sums in excess of Rs.8,000/- shall continue to do so, and those whose pension would fall below the minimum pension (after 5% annual increase, effective on the 1st of January) they shall be paid the minimum pension with 5% annual increase. However, those who have availed the benefit of VSS (Voluntary Separation Scheme) or Golden Handshake Scheme will not be benefitted by this judgment.”