Sharif family drowned in outstanding loans: FIA

A Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) report has revealed that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and 13 others of the Sharif family have reportedly failed to return loans worth over Rs 2.3 billion taken over a period of 18 years.

The case brief revealed that during the year 1994-95, the Ittefaq Group of Industries (one of the Sharifs’ family businesses) obtained loans from various banks amounting to almost Rs 3.1 billion, reports The Express Tribune.

In return, the Ittefaq Group pledged the companies’ mortgaged fixed assets, stocks, raw materials, finished goods, stock charges and personal guarantees by the companies’ directors as collateral. The mortgaged assets, according to sources, are now worth far more than the Rs 2.3 billion liabilities.

A breakdown of the loans obtained shows that Rs 1.545 billion was obtained from the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), Rs 340 million from United Bank Limited (UBL), Rs 239 million from Muslim Commercial Bank (MCB), Rs 110 million from First Punjab Modarba, Rs 61 million from the Bank of Punjab, Rs 58 million from the Agriculture Development Bank of Pakistan, Rs 17 million from Pakistan Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation (PICIC) and Rs 8 million from the Investment Corporation of Pakistan.

The names of directors of the Ittefaq Industries include Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif and Nusrat Shahbaz. In 1998, the directors of the Ittefaq Group voluntarily offered to surrender the assets of the group to the Lahore High Court (LHC), to settle claims of all the creditor banks. Upon this offer, all the banks unanimously agreed to get a court order and as per legal advice, an application was filed by the banks before the LHC.

While hearing this application, the LHC constituted a Committee on July 8, 1998 to take possession and to protect, preserve and dispose of the assets of the companies belonging to the Ittefaq Group.

Sources, however, say that one director of the group or another would file a petition every time the court came close to allowing bidding on the assets, thereby delaying the process.

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