Civilized nations and governments ruling the state with a mandate of the people invariably show great respect for their senior citizens and take all possible steps to make their lives comfortable as a token of appreciation for the services that they rendered in the development of their countries. They are extended multiple privileges that reflect the commitment of the nation to treat all segments of the society at par in consonance with tenets of social justice. But it is really regrettable to note that the PTI government, particularly Prime Minister Imran Khan, who never misses an opportunity to boast about building Pakistan as a welfare state on the model of the state of Medina, has shown no propensity to take care of the senior citizens, particularly the pensioners. His major focus is on denigrating the previous regimes without really bothering to improve the economic situation of the citizens. The country is in the grip of the worst economic situation and the people have been hard hit by the hydra-head inflation, more so the poorer sections and the pensioners whose purchasing power has been drastically reduced. The pensioners particularly have been given a rough deal. They are under great stress due to the permeating inflation and the injustice done by the government not to raise their pensions at par with the serving government employees. All the previous governments, good or bad in the estimation of the PTI government, had invariably raised the salaries and pension at the same rate whenever the need was felt, usually while announcing the budget. The strategy adopted by the PTI government in this regard is tantamount to sheer injustice with the senior citizens/pensioners. Last year, succumbing to the pressure of the government employees as a result of their agitation, it granted 25 per cent ad hoc relief to grade 1-19 employees from March 1. They were given a further 10 per cent increase in the budget, which meant that they enjoyed a 35 per cent rise in their emoluments. Civilian employees in grades 20-22 were also given a 25 per cent disparity allowance. The military personnel were given 10 per cent ad hoc relief in the budget and after the budget, yet another 15 per cent across-the-board relief was given to them, enhancing their salaries by 25 per cent. Nevertheless, the pensioners were badly treated. They were given only a 10 per cent raise in their pensions, which was unprecedented discrimination against them. Mere sermons are not going to reinforce the much-trumpeted claims of the government to establish a just society. Notwithstanding, the government claims of inflation being in the vicinity of 10-12 per cent, the reality is that the overall prices of the commodities have risen more than 100 per cent during the last three years. Though the citizens at large are groaning under the impact of run-away prices, they have shown remarkable patience by not coming on to the streets to put pressure on the government. However, the government servants, who found it difficult to meet both ends in spite of the relief given to them last year, continued their protest for further raises in their salaries and the rectification of other anomalies and injustices. Succumbing to their pressure, the government has now announced a 15 per cent rise in the salaries of grade 1-19 employees and also promised to give a positive response to their demands. The increase becomes effective from March 1. The Prime Minister, during his visit to Quetta, also announced a 15 per cent enhancement in the emoluments of Rangers and FC personnel. The voiceless pensioners, who have no clout and are not in a position to resort to agitation, like the government employees have done and have been doing, figure nowhere in the scheme of things of the government. The serving government servants have been given a 50 per cent increase in their emoluments within the span of one year. Justice demands that the pensioners also be given a 40 per cent increase immediately to atone for the injustice that has been done to them. The Prime Minister, instead of acting like a preacher should realise his role as the chief executive of the country. He is well-advised to adopt a realistic approach towards the plight of the serving and retired government servants like the previous governments. Mere sermons are not going to reinforce the much-trumpeted claims of the government to establish a just society. The performance of the government is measured by its success in changing the economic situation of the people as a whole, more so the hard-pressed segments of the population. The reality is that the PTI government does not have an enviable record in this regard. It needs serious introspection instead of relying on propaganda to prop up its image which has no relevance to the ground realities. The Prime Minister, members of the cabinet never tire of claiming that PTI would also win the next elections based on its performance. They must be having delusions in this regard. The reality is that the people are not happy with their performance and if things continue the way they are, I am sure they will get the shock of their lives at the polls. Even the diehard supporters of PTI also feel extremely disappointed with the way the country is being run. The disappointment is shared by millions. Recent surveys also corroborate erosion in the popularity of the government. People, particularly the lower strata of the society, including the pensioners need practical measures to alleviate their grievances and not mere promises and sermons giving false hope to them. The writer is a former diplomat and freelance columnist.