BoP scam accused told to file apology
By Nasir Iqbal
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court ordered Sheikh Muhammad Afzal, former chief executive of Haris Steel Industry and principal accused in the multi-billion-rupee Bank of Punjab (BoP) scam, on Thursday to submit a written apology for writing a contemptuous letter to former SC judge Syed Jamshed Ali Shah who heads the committee formed to recover misappropriated money by selling property.
A three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, Justice Amir Hani Muslim and Justice Ghulam Rabbani which took up the BoP case asked Punjab Advocate General Khwaja Haris, also representing the bank, and Khwaja Tariq Raheem, the counsel for Sheikh Afzal, to sit together and settle the entire accounts by determining the outstanding amount, without prejudice to the current proceedings before the court or the salvage committee.
Arrested in Malaysia by Interpol and brought back to Pakistan in 2009, Sheikh Afzal is currently in jail.
The letter, described by the court as obnoxious, had accused the committee`s chairman of discriminating against Sheikh Afzal by favouring the lawyers appearing against him because of their role in the lawyer`s movement for restoration of the judges sacked by former president Pervez Musharraf.
The court issued the orders although Khawaja Tariq had already arranged a meeting of his client with the committee chairman to tender a verbal apology and withdraw all miscellaneous petitions he had filed questioning the way the salvage committee was allegedly selling their properties at throwaway prices.
Khawaja Tariq informed the court that Sheikh Afzal and his family had agreed to clear the entire outstanding amount of BoP, but the amount to be paid was yet to be determined. He complained that the bank wanted cash, and no property, to settle the dispute.
Khwaja Haris said the total plundered money stood at Rs8.403 billion while the value of properties surrendered by Sheikh Afzal to the bank amounted to Rs5.58 billion.
The court ordered Sheikh Afzal to regularly appear before the salvage committee to help identify other properties to be sold to clear the outstanding amount.
He is required to provide details of properties other than those identified by the committee.
The court asked the committee to continue work on evaluating properties of Sheikh Afzal to clear the loan amount even if it received no cooperation from his family.
The court also ordered that composition of the committee be completed by appointing two members within three days. A representative of the bank had resigned after receiving threats.
The case will be taken up after two weeks.