Published On: Fri, Jan 17th, 2020
Published in Category: Court News

SC orders Sindh, Balochistan to submit progress report in Workers Welfare Fund case

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) on Thursday sought a report on progress from provincial governments of Sindh and Balochistan in the in the Workers Welfare Fund (WWF) case.

During hearing of the case, Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed expressed displeasure over the federal government, and warned that in case the matter were not settled, the court would be left with no choice but to itself distribute the funds among the workers.

“Why the government’s machinery isn’t working?” the top judge remarked while questioning the justification of retained funds by the officers in high ranks.

“The officers are roaming around and attend seminars only, and do not work […] are they appointed to take salaries and do no work?” he asked, while warning that in case the court has a solution to the problem.

The chief justice stated that the funds should be issued automatically and colonies were to be built for the workers, and observed none of the colonies were built by the government, and the officers were not releasing funds.

“The KP government built a colony but under what law does it gave its ownership rights?” he further questioned.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan questioned about the delay in the issuance of cheques for workers. “It is only after the issuance of cheques that a child can go to a school or marriages can happen,” he stated.

The CJP also asked whether the fund have been distributed similar to the distribution in other schemes.

Advocate Chaudhry Faisal, on behalf of the Punjab government, argued that the funds were being distributed according to the law in the province.

To this, Justice Gulzar inquired whether the Centre could hold funds following the 18th amendment.

The Additional Attorney General, Sajid Ilyas Bhatti, told the court that it was decided in the Council of Common Interests (CCI) that the Centre would collect all money. “Except Sindh, the federal government collects the [total] money of provinces.”

Meanwhile, the court adjourned the hearing for three weeks while seeking details from the Sindh government of pending cases in the high court.

The Workers Welfare Fund (WWF) was established under Workers Welfare Fund Ordinance, 1971, for providing low cost housing and other amenities to the industrial labour. Initial Contribution of Rs100 million was made by the Federal Government and the further resources were to be raised by the private sector.