Journalist’s pension plea: Nation should honour the great, says judge
LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Thursday remarked that the nation should honour those who had spent their lives in serving people in a particular field.
Justice Farrukh Irfan Khan said this while hearing a petition moved by veteran journalist Shafqat Tanvir Mirza who seeks release of his past pension benefits withheld by the National Press Trust (formerly Progressive Papers Limited).
On Thursday, the NPT counsel said the employees of the defunct PPL were not entitled to such benefit being demanded by the petitioner. He said the NPT was a private organisation and had no link with the government. He said the Trust had extended a financial aid of Rs50,000 out of its pocket to the petitioner but he returned it.
Petitioner’s counsel Syeda Maqsooma Zahra Bokhari objected to some parts of the reply, saying the respondent (NPT) had made derogatory remarks against a senior journalist. She also said the reply of the NPT was in total contradiction of what Federal Information Minister Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan had undertaken during her visit to the petitioner at hospital.
Justice Khan said the petitioner was not seeking charity rather he was demanding his right. He said: “We should respect such persons who have served the nation.” The judge asked the NPT lawyer to come up with final arguments on April 18.
The petitioner, who is suffering from lungs cancer, had prayed that the respondents be directed to pay the past pension of Rs1.2 million in accordance with the current rules and regulations of pension since 1996 in lump sum to enable him to get his treatment with dignity and respect.
He was the editor of ‘Daily Imroz’ being published by the PPL. The counsel said the petitioner had joined his service at the PPL in 1963 and remained with it for over 25 years and as per Section 7 (II) of PPL Pension Rules, 1985, he was entitled to receive 50 per cent of his last pay drawn.