Pak court issues notices to Sharif brothers

Sharif bros owe Rs 3 billion on account of loans taken from various banks.

Lahore: A Pakistani court has issued notices to former premier Nawaz Sharif and his brother, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, because they owe Rs 3 billion on account of loans taken from different banks.

The National Bank of Pakistan, Habib Bank, United Bank, Muslim Commercial Bank, Picic Bank of Punjab, Agricultural Development Bank of Pakistan, First Punjab Mudarba and Corporate Law Authority had filed a joint petition against the Sharifs in 1998.

The petitioners recently filed a fresh application for early hearing of their case and Justice Umar Ata Bandial of Lahore High Court took this up yesterday.

The judge sought replies from the Sharifs by October 12.

The banks said that the Ittefaq Foundries, Ittefaq Textile Mills and Khalid Siraj Industries, all owned by the Sharif brothers, had failed to clear their liabilities and the loans should be recovered through the auction of these units.

Earlier, in response to the petition filed by the banks, a company judge of the High Court had ordered the sale of these industrial units.

A sale committee, comprising banks` representatives, was constituted to monitor the auction. Nawaz Sharif`s uncle Mian Meraj Din had challenged the auction in the High Court under the Companies` Ordinance.

The Meraj family, one of seven shareholders in the Ittefaq group, contended that the auction violated Section 284 of the Ordinance.

They said the government had neither called a general meeting of all shareholders nor sought their approval before initiating the auction process as is required under the law.

The Sharif family had offered to hand over four units, including Ittefaq Foundries, Ittefaq Brothers and Brother Steel Mills, to the banks to adjust the loan amount but the banks rejected this and demanded payment in cash.