SC orders to recover all written-off loans by selling assets of beneficiaries

SC orders to recover all written-off loans by selling assets of beneficiaries

Islamabad (Staff Report): The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday ordered to recover all loans which were written-off.

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, heard a sou motu case against State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) allegedly allowing commercial banks to write off non-performing loans estimated at Rs 54 billion under a scheme introduced by former president Pervez Musharraf.

The top judge declared that the assets of the individuals who failed to pay back loans would be sold off for recovering the money and depositing it in the national kitty.

When the top judge asked about the total amount which was not paid back, the counsel for the private bank replied that Rs 54 billion was written off.

Barrister Zafarullah apprised the bench that Benazir Bhutto, Nawaz Sharif, Yousaf Raza Gillani Chaudhry brothers and Muhammad Khan Junejo also failed to pay back loans.

The CJP sought details of all those who took loans from government banks without paying back and asked for details of national and international bank accounts of the aforementioned Pakistanis.

The top judge also asked Governor Tariq Bajwa, Governor State Bank of Pakistan if there was a way to bring back the money stashed in offshore accounts.

To this, the Governor replied that there was no such clause in the legal procedures.

The CJP remarked that people whose loans were waived off must return amount, adding that if there are not able to pay the amount then their assets should be sold.

In 2010, a three-judge bench comprising former Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed had taken notice of the issue.

A circular issued by the SBP governor had also raised serious questions with respect to the written off, remitted, reversed or waived loans/advances from 1971 onward under BPD circular 29 of 2002. Under the order, banks waived loans given out of public money during the Musharraf regime.