Employees suffer as Shehr-e-Khamoshan lacks funds for salaries


–Staffers claim it is not the first time that they are not being paid

–Say ex-PSKA DG used to pay them from his own pocket at times

LAHORE: Despite Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Saqib Nisar’s orders to ensure the disbursement of government servants’ salaries on time, the Punjab Shehr-e-Khamoshan Authority (PSKA) is lacking funds for the pays of its employees for the past three months, Pakistan Today has learnt.

PSKA was notified on June 21, 2017, and was established under the Punjab Shehr-e-Khamoshan Authority Act 2017. The Strategic Reforms Unit (SRU) of former chief minister Shehbaz Sharif was looking after the authority whereas Salman Sufi, the former director general (DG) of SRU, was given an additional charge of PSKA DG till June 2018.

The purpose of PSKA was to provide modern and free burial services to the people, in line with which three graveyards in Kahna, Sargodha and Faisalabad were established.

According to the documents available with Pakistan Today, the fully functional graveyards are equipped with a total of 27 staffers. The expenditures of these model graveyards were to be met from PSKA’s budget; however, payments of the staff members have not been made for the past three months due to a delay in the release of funds of the authority in ADP 2018-19.

“This is not the first time in PSKA that the employees are facing the issue of delay in salaries as it has happened several times in the past as well. Sometimes the head of SRU Salman Sufi used to pay the workers from his own pocket and that was kind of him but it could not be done every time. PSKA high-ups should have sought the authority’s share from the government to pay us our salaries,” an employee of PSKA, while requesting anonymity, informed Pakistan Today.

He added that their salaries had not been given to them on Eidul Azha either. “Even the lower staff was with empty pockets on Eid and the new government should think about the staff as they are working with dedication and devotion in two shifts without any extra perks.”

Another employee of PSKA said the new government had taken up and they were hoping that it would work for the betterment of government employees. “The new government should ensure the disbursement of our salaries on time as we work hard all year long for the welfare of the people,” he said.

“I had also been facing the same issues when I was in charge of the project. These projects have been designed with much effort and the dedication of the staff deserves on time salaries. There were issues of funds previously and sometimes I had to pay the lower staff out of my own pocket,” former SRU head Salman Sufi said while speaking to Pakistan Today.

Sufi further said that during his tenure he also got ambulances donated to PSKA through different sources amid lack of funds. “In fewer funds, we planned and launched the PSKA project with all that I could do”, he said.