Chief Justice Saqib Nisar on Saturday announced that there is "consensus among all stakeholders" that two dams should be built from the money recovered from 222 companies who had had loans worth billions of rupees written off illegally.

"The water shortage is such a serious matter," he remarked. "I will have some good news regarding this very soon."

Justice Nisar made the comments during the hearing of a case initiated in 2008 after the Supreme Court (SC) took suo motu notice of media reports that the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) had approved a scheme to allow writing off of loans worth Rs54 billion owed to commercial banks by several companies.

During today's hearing, the CJ informed the court that several of the 222 companies had consented to returning 75 per cent of the outstanding loans as per a formula suggested by Justice Muneeb Akhtar.

Justice Nisar said that other companies involved in the case who wish to contest the case further have the option to go to banking courts.

However, the chief justice warned that if banking courts issued a verdict against the companies, they would have to pay the full amount of their loans. He further said that the parties which failed to repay their loans could also go to jail for as long as one year.

At this point, several lawyers representing different companies named in the case urged the CJ not to forward the issue to banking courts. Justice Nisar then ordered the petitioners to submit written recommendations regarding how to proceed with the case.

He also ordered that a special bench be formed to decide if the case should be sent to banking courts or be heard by the SC.

The hearing of the case was adjourned until July 4.

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