In light of the upcoming Eid ul Fitr, the government led by Shehbaz Sharif has decided to release salaries for the current month to employees of public sector departments. The move is aimed at providing some relief to the citizens of Pakistan, who are dealing with historic high inflation and struggling to secure external financing, with the looming threat of default hanging over the country.
The decision was taken after consultations between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar. Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb confirmed the development and also announced that the government has decided to release monthly pensions before the festival. As a result, Dar directed Finance Secretary Hamed Yaqoob Sheikh to make arrangements accordingly.
The Government of Sindh had already announced the release of salaries for Muslim government employees in advance before Eid ul Fitr. A notification from the finance department stated that “full pay and allowances/full pension for the month of April, shall be paid in advance to all Muslim employees/pensioners of Provincial Government of Sindh (including work-charged and contingent paid establishment).” The salaries and pensions will be released on April 17 instead of May 2, and Eid is expected to fall on either April 21 or April 22.
However, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa caretaker government apologized on Tuesday for not being able to pay advance salaries to government civil servants on the occasion of Eid, citing concerns about the province’s financial stability and the potential risk of bankruptcy. The provincial finance department has sent a detailed note to the chief secretary regarding the financial difficulties, stating that there is only Rs13 billion in the treasury while Rs45 billion is required for salaries.
The document further stated that the provincial government is expected to receive Rs20-25 billion from the federal government in April. In view of the economic situation, the finance department is not in a position to pay salaries and pensions in advance. The department also pointed out that the KP government still has to pay Rs20 billion under flour subsidy, Rs3 billion to hospitals for essential services, Rs4 billion for health cards, and Rs1 billion for law and order. Apart from this, Rs1.30 billion have to be paid for free textbooks.
In summary, the release of salaries and pensions for the current month in advance of Eid ul Fitr by the Shehbaz Sharif-led government is aimed at providing some relief to the citizens of Pakistan who are struggling with high inflation and external financing issues. While the government of Sindh has already announced the release of salaries for Muslim government employees, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa caretaker government has cited financial difficulties in not being able to pay advance salaries to government civil servants.