Pension a payment to which a government employee, subject to fulfillment of certain terms and conditions, is entitled after his or her retirement. Depending on the option of the employee, the payment can be made on monthly basis or in lump sum calculated according to a prescribed rate. In the latter case, the employee has to surrender his rights to have pension on monthly basis.

Under the public servants (retirement) act 1974, employees of all government agencies, including those of certain autonomous bodies, are to retire from service on attaining the age of fifty-nine. The law makes some exceptions as to its applicability of the provision of retirement. The major exceptions include the members of any defense service; teachers or employees of any public university; those employed in a commission, committee or board set-up for special purposes; holders of offices filled by election or nomination; or whose tenure is determined by or under any other law. The same law also empowers the government to retire any employee from service on completion of twenty-five years of service, irrespective of whether or not the employee has attained fifty-nine years of age. On the other hand, an employee also has the right to ask for retirement on completion of twenty-five years of service. In either event the employee is entitled to pension.

There is another type of pension called family pension. Any government employee may nominate one or more members of his family to receive his pension in the event of his death earlier to retirement. In a situation when the deceased employee had left no wife or other legal heirs, the controlling authority of the employee will have the right to determine the successors to be entitled to such pension. The surviving wife of a deceased pensioner is entitled to the payment of lifetime pension but until she marries again. She is not entitled, however, to surrender the pension for lump sum payment.

Pension is determined at a rate prescribed by the Ministry of Finance and presented in a document known as 'pension table' which shows varying amounts of entitlement to pension depending upon the length of service of the employee. There are as many as sixteen varying rates. The admissibility of pension starts with ten years of service and goes on to twenty-five years. The percentage of pension entitlement in terms of last pay drawn varies between 32% for those completing ten years of service to 80% for those completing twenty-five years of service.

The sanction of pension is usually a long drawn out process. It was simplified to a great extent in 1994 and yet there have remained a lot of paper requirements. The service books for the non-gazetted employees are still required to be maintained in two sets together with the need of updating them in the month of February each year. On the other hand, for the gazetted employees, detailed service records inclusive of information on the employees' confirmation in service, promotion, demotion or other penalties imposed, leave, retirement or death, need to be maintained regularly.

The sanctioning authority is required to update the service record/service book within five months after the date of receipt of an application for pension. Similarly, the certificate of 'no-demand', indicating that no outstanding payment on account of dues to be paid to the government by the officer going on retirement, will have to be obtained within three months. Thereafter, the pension payment order will be issued and sent to the audit office. In the event 'no-demand' certificate is delayed, there is scope for issuing provisional pension order to the extent of eighty percent of the pension due to be paid.

In case a government employee is compulsorily retired as a measure of punishment under the Government Servants (Discipline and Appeal) Rules 1985, he/she is entitled to compensation pension, but subject to any order of the President as to the amount of compensation pension to be paid. [AMM Shawkat Ali]