SC orders HBL president to appear with record of amount withdrawn by Younus Habib


The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday ordered the president of Habib Bank Limited to appear on the next date of hearing with relevant ledger detailing the withdrawal of amount by the then chief executive Younus Habib, one of the main character in the Mehran Bank scandal, and any other material to help in determining that these amounts were taken away without adopting due procedures.
A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry also asked the governor of the State Bank of Pakistan to look into the matter and share with the court any information he had.
The bench resumed the hearing of a petition filed by Air Marshal (r) Asghar Khan in 1996 against the alleged distribution of Rs 140 by former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief among the rivals of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) to influence 1990 elections.
The bench also issued notice to commander Shahbaz, legal director at the Ministry of Defence, to inform the court about the ministry’s willingness to appear and record a statement over the issue, or its role as an observer.
During the proceedings, petitioner’s counsel Salman Akram Raja insisted that the authentic enquiry report over Mehran Bank scam be produced.
Attorney General of Pakistan Irfan Qadir told the bench that there was no such authentic report available with them. He requested the bench to grant him time so that he could authenticate the copy of Mehran Bank scam, and find out the availability of any final report on Habib Bank Limited.
Law Ministry Secretary Yasmeen Abbasi produced a copy of the interim report sent by HBL Enquiry Commission chairman Mohammad Ilyas on April 22, 1997. In response to the bench’s question, she replied that there was no final report on record in the ministry.
The attorney general said the interim report contained many names and the bench could quiz them.
The bench observed that the interim report had no substance except the list of members of the commission and of 13 witnesses. It said that from the material available on record, it was evident that the amount was taken out for onward distribution among the politicians.
Justice Jawwad S Khawaja said there should be some standard operating procedure which existed when the alleged amount was taken out. The chief justice questioned why such interventions had been made in the democratic process since 1977. Justice Khilji Arif Hussain observed that without the availability of the required enquiry report, they would be groping in the dark.
On the request of the attorney general, the bench adjourned further hearing until June 4.


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