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Sheikh Afzal family asked to hand over property


Islamabad—A three-member Supreme Court bench on Monday directed the family of Sheikh Afzal, main accused in Haris Steel Mills fraud case, to handover the possession of their property to the Bank of Punjab (BoP) within three days.

The bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, Justice Ch Ijaz Ahmed and Justice Ghulam Rabbani gave the directives while hearing a case against Haris Steel Mills Lahore, which defaulted a loan of Rs 9 billion obtained from BoP on forged guarantees.

The court directed the NAB and BoP not to trouble the family of Sheikh Afzal and arrest Haris Afzal, son of Sheikh Afzal, while taking the possession of their property which they had agreed to surrender against the defaulted loans.

Earlier Sheikh Afzal had agreed to return the defaulted money through a plea bargain. Haris Afzal, son of Sheikh Afzal, told the court that he was ready to sign the General Power of Attorney (GPA) in the name of Bank of Punjab.

Most of the property is registered in the name of Haris Afzal. On the previous hearing, the court was informed that Haris Afzal had been missing. Haris Afzal told the court that he was picked up by intelligence agencies.

Khawaja Haris, counsel for the BoP, told the court that due to non-cooperation of family of Sheikh Afzal, process of receiving property to complete the plea bargain could not be completed.

He assured the court that family of Sheikh Afzal would be associated with the procedure of disposing of the property. Counsel for Haris Afzal, requested the court that the property in which family of Sheikh Afzal is living should be sold at the end of plea bargain, however, the court turned down the request.

The court observed that the process of taking possession should be completed without causing any harassment. Earlier Fariah Afzal, wife of Sheikh Afzal, informed the court that NAB and BoP officials entered into her house without permission or prior notice and harassed the family members.

The court directed the NAB not to arrest Haris Afzal till further orders of the court. The court later adjourned the hearing till April 20. On September 27, 2007, NAB Punjab had filed a reference in an accountability court against 12 people including six officials of the BoP and six others accused of Rs 9 billion fraud. [Read More]