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Supreme Court of Pakistan
Supreme Court of Pakistan. — Photo by AFP

ISLAMABAD: Directing authorities to compile the details of assets in the Haris Steel Mills case, also known as the Bank of Punjab (BoP) scam case, in three days' time, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said former BoP president Hamesh Khan, the principal accused in a Rs9 billion scam, and Sheikh Afzal, the owner of Haris Steel Mills and the main character in the scam, could not be kept in jail indefinitely, DawnNews reported.

Haris Steel Mills and its two sister concerns had secured Rs9 billion loan from BoP in connivance with its officials including its then president Hamesh Khan in 2007.

A two-judge bench of the apex headed by the chief justice heard the case today.

During the hearing, Afzal's counsel told the bench that his client had paid more than half of the required amount, adding that, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) should provide his client with a schedule for the remaining payment.

In his remarks, Chief Justice Iftikhar said that no assets could be sold without the consent of the owner(s).

He further remarked that people had lost faith in the state’s investigative bodies, including the NAB, adding that, today as well, newspapers had published stories pertaining to lack of confidence in the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

Justice Khawaja also criticised the NAB and the FIA in his remarks.

The case's hearing was subsequently adjourned to Oct 25.

In 2007, the NAB had filed a reference against 12 people, including six officials of BoP and six others, in the loan scam. After the reference was filed, Khan’s name was put on the Exit Control List. However in July 2008, he managed to escape abroad.

Khan was arrested in December 2009 from the US at Pakistan’s request to Interpol. The Supreme Court had directed the government to arrange his arrest through the Interpol.