A recent Right to Information (RTI) request has brought to light the revelation that overseas civil and military pensioners are receiving their pensions in foreign currencies.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) reported that there are 164 pensioners residing abroad who receive their pensions in currencies other than the Pakistani rupee, a national daily has reported.
Interestingly, this stands in contrast to the grievances raised by retired government servants in Pakistan, who have been vocal about the non-payment of pensions received in rupees.
The issue, initially obscure, gained attention when RTI activist Naeem Sadiq pursued details after hearing about it from an acquaintance. The informant mentioned a retired squadron leader abroad receiving a pension in dollars from Pakistan.
Sadiq filed an RTI request with the Pakistan Air Force, seeking information on the number of retired officers abroad receiving pensions in foreign currency.
Despite not requesting names, the information was withheld. Subsequent inquiries with MoFA and the Accountant General of Pakistan (AGPR) were unfruitful, as both entities declined to provide the requested information.
Undeterred, Sadiq turned to the Pakistan Information Commission (PIC), but even this avenue proved unhelpful.
Faced with continued resistance, Sadiq escalated the matter to the Islamabad High Court, naming MoFA, Ministry of Defence, and AGPR as parties to the case.
Following a court notice, MoFA eventually agreed to share the information, shedding light on a matter that had initially been shrouded in secrecy.