SC issues notices to loan waivers

ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court (SC) while adjourning the hearing of suo motu notice case of written off loans of Rs 256 billion till today has issued notices to the institutions and persons who have got their loans waived.

A 3-member bench of SC comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, justice Ghulam Rabbani and justice Khalil ur Rehman Ramday resumed the hearing of suo motu case of written off loans here Wednesday.

Counsel for state bank , Syed Iqbal Haider presented the detailed list of those who got their loans waived and told the court that loans to the tune of Rs 50 billion were got written off during the last two years. The details about 50 persons and institutions who were major beneficiaries of loan waiving facility were also produced before the court.

Assisting the court, senior lawyer Abdul Hafeez Pirzada said the total volume of written off loans had reached Rs 300 billion including the amount of loan of Rs 50 billion which was waived during the last two years.

Citing to the circulars issued by State Bank (SB) with respect to waiver of loans, he said some circulars were issued in violation of rules because under the bank rules no financial assistance can be provided by bank to those who become defaulters and do not repay loans. Despite it circulars were issued to extend financial assistance to defaulters, he added. This is breach of bank rules. But this was sheer breach of rules that loans were disbursed to defaulters again and were written off. Those who get the loans waive don’t even pay the tax, he said.

“Such people enjoy double benefit. Loans are written off against them and they evade to pay tax too”, Justice Ramday remarked.

CJP asked the counsel for bank to furnish the complete list of those who got their loans written off. They be directed either to pay back the loans or their property be confiscated and they be sent to jail.

“SB if once withdraws all the circulars issued with regard to waiver of loans then you can see how the people don’t repay the loans”, CJP remarked.

“Withdrawal of circulars will leave negative impact”, Iqbal Haider said.

“You are defending those involved in written off loans. Nothing will happen if circulars are withdrawn. What has been done with the country so far but it still stands and will stand here “, Justice Ramday remarked.

CJP inquired from Iqbal Haider if the circulars for waiving the loans have been issued in line with law.
“Some time be allowed more and all the details in this respect will be presented in the court”, Iqbal Haider said.

“ Court is providing an opportunity to state bank. This opportunity be availed and loans be recovered or the court will do its job. The properties of those who don’t return loans will be confiscated and put to auction”, CJP observed.

“What a deplorable thing it is that loans of billion of rupees have been got written off and it is being said that bigger capitalists and businessmen be not asked about it as their business is affected”, CJP said.

CJP directed SB to issue notices on its own to those who got their loans waived and intimate that their names have been furnished to court. Hearing is underway. If they have to return the loans then they should pay back forthwith otherwise legal proceedings would be initiated against them, he added.

SB has authority to issue circulars only and it can not issue notices, Iqbal Haider said

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