It is rather tragic that we have never learned from our elders or had a chance to teach them. Instead, we have made them stand in long queues to receive their pensions and deprived them of their right to live with dignity due to their old age. People all over the world have huge respect for their elders, use their rich experiences, seek their advice while they are provided facilities in every institution.
We are taught that Islam has given immense rights to elders and they are highly respected by Muslims. The truth is that they are being kept in one place in our homes as exhibits and only brought on special occasions such as weddings or other ceremonies to seek their blessings. Apart from their prayers, we should also express our gratitude and take advantage of their life experiences. But unfortunately, we seldom take heed.
If an elderly person wants to go somewhere, they do not have any transport system to take them around easily. Neither do shops give any discounted prices or other facilities to senior citizens. Thus, they only have their pensions to lead a normal life. In fact, pensions are only given to those retiring from government institutions, but no pension is given in private organizations.
These people are dependent on their children or society to live their life. The elderly do not die on their own but society kills them.
The PTI government has built shelters for the elderly but has not given them their due rights. Rather than giving charity, it would have been far better to give them their due status in society and other necessities. Whether it is a bus fare, plane tickets, hotels or restaurants, elders should be given a discount everywhere. On the contrary, their hard-earned money placed in savings accounts is being taxed which they had kept for their old age. The government certainly has no mercy on the elderly.
The government should abolish all taxes imposed on retired employees because they have contributed to the development of this country by paying their share of taxes. Now it is time the country gives them the facilities they have paid for when they were young, productive members of society. The government should use every retired officer and give him a job as a consultant in various departments and make full use of their experience.
We hire people from abroad placed in top positions on high salaries although they have no experience regarding Pakistan. They have foreign degrees which have no purpose as they are not taught the working conditions of developing countries and thus lack information about people and institutions here. If we appoint elders as advisors in all departments, the money given as pensions can be paid as their salary. This will allow us to take advantage of their experience to improve the performance of our institutions.
I urge to consider elders as a national asset. They should be made productive members of society. We should take advantage of their experiences as they are the pride of our nation. We can develop our country and experience cannot be bought but attained.