Back in October 2016, then Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Anwar Zaheer Jamali had taken suomotu notice of retired government servants experiencing difficulties in receiving their retirement benefits from the concerned government departments. In March of 2017, a three-judge Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Amir Hani Muslim viewing that there is no mechanism for timely disbursement of pension benefits to the retired employees of the Sindh government, had directed the government to prepare standard operation procedures (SOPs) within a week to ensure that the benefits would be released to employees on the day they retire. Sadly, public servants continue to experience hurdles and prolonged delays in payments of retirement benefits.Undoubtedly, government servants render their whole life to their respective departments. They experience extreme stress and strain due to the huge backlog of work. They endure severe reprimands from their superiors. Employees remain under increasing pressure to work longer hours. Despite all the odds, they continue to serve. In recognition of all this, the timely payment of all the official incentives they are entitled to, should be made in a respectful way after they retire from government service. Because of mismanagement, inefficiency and corruption in the government departments this is not the case. To get their pension benefits released they have to move from pillar to post. Two to three years after retirement they hardly become able to receive some of the post retirement dues. Meanwhile, many of the government servants die in despondent financial conditions because of the inordinate delay in payment of pension and other dues.As per Pakistan Civil Servants Pension Rules, every government servant is to receive his pension on the date it becomes due. The responsibility for initiation and completion of pension papers is that of the head of department or office concerned. Proceedings should be initiated one year before the government servant is due to retire so that pensions may be sanctioned a month before the retirement is due. Unfortunately, the parent department starts to prepare the papers of pension and all other post retirement benefits after an employee retires and it completes proceedings of the papers after approximately a year. Then the papers are sent to district accounts offices which, due to the complex financial system, complicated requirements to be fulfilled by the employee or widow and lack of funds by the department concerned, make payments of pension and other retirement benefits after one year. Proceedings should be initiated one year before the government servant is due to retire so that pensions may be sanctioned a month before the retirement is dueAs per the rules, Benevolent Fund retired government servants and widows of government employees in case of their death in service are to receive monthly payments from the Benevolent Fund. Regrettably, there is no mechanism for releasing the fund regularly to the beneficiaries. The fund is released in meager installments with no fixed time period. The new beneficiaries are expected to receive first installment of the fund at least one year after they get themselves registered for the fund. Meanwhile, the beneficiaries regularly frequent the district benevolent fund board but the response they often receive is funds not received.In Sindh, other benevolent fund grants including educational scholarships to the children and other dependent family members, marriage grant for daughters, farewell grant on superannuation and funeral grant in case of death of any government servant or his/ her dependent family members has been stopped. This has caused financial hardships for the employees and their heirs. In recent years, a family assistance package was introduced to provide financial relief to the bereaved families of government employees who die in service. The policy has not yet been entirely implemented in Sindh. Though a number of employees have died during service after the compensation was announced, families of many deceased servants have yet not been provided the grant. A huge backlog of files for payments is pending in the offices of heads of the departments concerned due to many reasons which include the lengthy process of completion and verification of the related papers, inability or reluctance of the widows to grease the hands of some black sheep in the departments and lack of funds.The shocking fact is that the inordinate delay in the finalisation of cases of the retirement benefits has caused enormous suffering and hardship for retired government servants, widows and orphaned children. Viewing the grim situation, the federal and all four provincial governments, for the timely release of payments to the beneficiaries should take effective initiatives to introduce reforms for the improvement of the process of retirement benefits. Moreover, the heads of the concerned departments or offices concerned should be made bound to initiate and complete the proceedings of retirement papers one year before the retirement of their employees and in case they show negligence should be dealt with strictly in accordance with law. Published in Daily Times, February 12th 2019.