A Pakistani court has adjourned till February 10 the hearing of a petition filed by a consortium of banks for recovering loans worth about Rs 3 billion (over USD 35 million) from former premier Nawaz Sharif and his relatives.
Earlier, a committee formed by the Lahore High Court submitted its recommendations about winding up business firms for which the loans were taken and the banks sought time from the court to review this option.
The National Bank of Pakistan, Habib Bank, United Bank, Zarai Taraqiati Bank of Pakistan, Muslim Commercial Bank, Picic Bank, First Punjab Mudarba and Corporate Law Authority filed the petition against Sharif and his kin in the High Court.
The petitioners asked the court during a hearing on Monday to issue orders for the recovery of the loans through auction of Ittefaq Foundries, Ittefaq Textile Mills and Khalid Siraj Industries, all firms owned by the Sharifs, as they had failed to fulfil financial commitments made against the loans advanced to them.
Earlier, the High Court had ordered the sale of these units.
However, the decision was challenged by Mian Meraj Din, a shareholder in Ittefaq Group and Sharif's uncle, on the ground that such an auction would violate Section 284 of the Companies Ordinance.
Four firms, including Ittefaq Foundries, Ittefaq Brothers and Brother Steel Mills, were handed over by the Sharif family to the banks but the banks rejected the move and demanded payment in cash.
The Sharifs are facing severe criticism for getting bank loans written off in the past and for not paying income tax they are liable to pay under the law.
Reports said Sharif, who heads the PML-N party, paid only Rs 5,000 (USD 600) as income tax in 2010.