Former PNCA, Lok Virsa employees being denied pension


The Standing Committee on Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage has directed the ministry of Information to take up the matter of the payment of the pension of retired Pakistan National Council for Arts (PNCA) and Lok Virsa employees with the ministry of finance and to report back to the committee within a month.

The committee met under the chairmanship of MNA Pir Aslam Bodla in the PNCA, Islamabad, on Wednesday to discuss the issue brought to their notice by Mir Aijaz Hussain Jakhrani.

Lok Virsa Executive Director Fauzia Saeed briefed the committee that the pension scheme for retired Lok Virsa employees was initiated in 1997 and discontinued in 2014. She further said that the scheme was discontinued due to the exhaustion of the available funds since a large number of senior employees retired and were granted pension and benefits/commutation at the rate of pension admissible to civil servants.

She reiterated that pension to retired employees had not been discontinued and that they were being paid at the rate approved by the Lok Virsa Board of Governors. “Some of the employees approached the court asking for their pension at the rate granted to civil servants, which was still pending decision,” Fauzia Saeed said.

She informed that the employees of the Lok Virsa were entitled to medical facilities and the provision of a house-building advance.

PNCA Director General Jamal Shah informed the Committee that the PNCA had taken up the matter of grant of pensions to its retired employees with the ministry of finance through the ministry of information, broadcasting and national heritage and that the case was pending with the ministry of finance for decision.

He informed the committee that, subject to approval by the ministry of finance, the PNCA had enough resources to grant benefits to its employees.

The committee decided to discuss the issue at its next meeting, and meanwhile directed Lok Virsa and the PNCA to pursue the matter with the ministry of finance. The committee also directed management of both the organisations to explore possible venues of funds generation to fulfil their mandate instead of relying on government funds.

The committee also asked the ministry of information, broadcasting and national heritage to revitalise the Artist Welfare Fund for extending financial assistance to artists.

The committee also recommended the transfer of the Pak-China Friendship Centre and the Arts and Craft Village to the PNCA.