Muhammad Faheem

During its final two years in power, the former provincial government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) significantly increased the number of permanent employees, adding over 63,000 to the provincial payroll. Moreover, the upgradation of 150,000 teachers added an extra financial burden of more than 20 billion rupees.

The Finance Department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa revealed that Mahmood Khan’s previous provincial cabinet made various decisions contributing to this fiscal challenge. In 2021, over 2,200 Khasadars and Levies personnel were absorbed into the police. In January 2022, more than 4,000 employees from the ongoing development program in the tribal districts were granted permanent status. Furthermore, 56,000 teachers recruited through the National Testing Service (NTS) in July 2022 were also made permanent.

The government also regularized more than 700 ad hoc and contract teachers in July 2022. Additionally, the last cabinet meeting of the provincial government, just before its tenure ended, approved the upgradation of 150,000 teachers, resulting in an additional burden of 20 billion rupees on the government exchequer. However, this upgrade, scheduled for July 2023, has been placed on hold by the current caretaker government.

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The Finance Department reported that the government had upgraded various categories of employees, such as computer operators, junior clerks, superintendents, stenographers, primary school teachers, nurses, paramedics, and medical technicians. This move significantly increased the financial burden on the provincial exchequer. Furthermore, officers in grades 17 and above received a special allowance equivalent to 150% of their salaries. In 2022, the pay scale for various job groups was revised, and in 2021 and 2022, the government granted employees a 20% and 25% differential allowance, respectively. Executive and Secretariat Performance Allowances, along with annual ad hoc relief allowances, further strained the exchequer.

The finance department expressed concerns about the substantial salary increase for the current financial year and emphasized that an ad-hoc allowance had been implemented in the 2023-24 salary structure. This allowance provided a 35% increase to employees from grades 1 to 16 and a 30% raise to those in higher grades. Furthermore, pensioners received a 17.5% increase in their pensions.