ISLAMABAD The big guns of Pakistan got their over Rs 193.403 billion bank loans written off on the decisions taken by the financial teams of various governments from 1997 to 2009. This shocking revelation was made in a report of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) submitted before the Supreme Court. The report mentioned the names of those individuals and organisations who had got billion of rupees waived off causing a massive loss to the public exchequer and facilitating the privileged of the previous governments. According to the list consisting bank-wise summary of written-off loans of 37 banks, that is also available with TheNation, the loans of around 19,711 individuals were written off within the period of last 12 years. A three-member bench of SCP headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry heard a suo moto case of Rs 54 billion written off loans case that has been pending in the apex court since November 2007. Over Rs 300 billion have been waived off by influential persons in the state as the arguments were being presented by the lawyers before the apex court, the bench observed. The SC started proceedings of the case on the request of a few citizens for public interest here on Tuesday. Chief Justice in his remarks said, How will the looted money be recovered from the big guns of the country? Through which device can the public wealth be returned from the babus? he questioned. Criticising the government on failure of recovery from defaulters, he said the list of loans must be prepared at provincial levels so that cases of waiving off the loans in each province could be listed. He said court is ready to take on any resistance. The court has directed the Governor SBP to sort out recovery mechanism of the loans waived off. It directed to hold conference with the presidents of other 37 banks to inquire about the loans written off during 1971 till date. Dr Ishratul Hussain would be summoned to guide the court while taking up the matter on February 2 of 2010. A monitoring cell will be constituted to view the whole tragedy regarding waiving off billion of rupees loans, he stated. The Chairman FBR will also help the abovementioned teams as written off loans shall be examined by the authorities concerned. The apex court will examine the case under Article 25 of the Constitution. How the money was got written off? Through which rules the loans were waived off? Was it not the violation of Article 25 of the Constitution of Pakistan? Chief Justice asked from the government functionaries. Only one chance will be given to defaulters to return the loans and action will be taken against them if they fail to do so as the SC is ready to take the blame if anyone raises the question why the court is doing this, the Chief Justice remarked. The country is facing uncertainty, financial irregularities and corruption, he added. Maulvi Iqbal Haider, counsel for SBP, informed the court that primarily over 17,500 people got their loans written off. Efforts are being made to collect more information with regard to loans taken from 1971, he explained. The Habib Bank Limited has waived off Rs 49,627.3 million loans taken by 5,728 individuals, while United Bank wrote off Rs 384,50.6 million loan of 3,157 persons and the National Bank waived of Rs 28546.1 million loan of around 1,545 people. The Chief Justice said it is an irony that the influential are getting their loans written off while loans are being taken to run the state affairs. He termed it a big loss for both the nation and country. The SBP report said that there was 78 billion rupees principal amount in the written off loans of 170 billion. The overall amount also included Rs 31 billion markup and 92 billion losses and other financial expense. Two sitting chief ministers of the provinces and their families having big business concerns and stakes were are also beneficiaries of these written off loans whose details have been put in the 1250-page list. The CJ said the National Assembly should legislate with regard to that virus of circular 29 under which huge money was dumped. The chief minister of a province whose family owns sugar mills, also got loans written off under this scheme. The chief minister of another province got loans written off outstanding against his ghee mills, the report points out. Even some foreign firms and multinational companies and a private bus service operating from Lahore to different cities of Punjab were also extended this facility, the report added. It is also pertinent to mention here that the then finance minister Shaukat Azizs financial team approved a 'written off loan scheme in October 2002 after certain top politicians of the government pressurised them to do so. Abdul Hafeez Pirzada stated that the virus of written off deprived small growers and small businessmen of this scheme and only big guns were the beneficiaries. He gave the reference of Justice Jamshid Ali who noted a very good point with regard to loans being waived off saying that it is violation of article 25 of the Constitution. He quoted Attorney General of England, who withdrew the money case with regard to Saudis Princes from 'Queen Bench England because there was fear of disturbance with diplomatic relations. Over 50,000 people enjoyed from that virus which have been writing off the loans since decades, he further argued. Advocate Akram Raja said the big political families and top guns exploited the third category of the written off loans to get billions of rupees outstanding against them. As a result of the scheme, the banks/DFIs settled over 50,000 cases involving outstanding amount of Rs 74.879 billion whereas only Rs 11 billion could be recovered, he said. Meanwhile, a lawyer argued that the writing off of loans in the banking sector was under a policy guidelines issued vide circular 29 and that the losses mentioned by audit did not pertain to the SBP. Meanwhile, the SC adjourned the hearing till February 2.