HBL’s privatisation challenged in SC
ISLAMABAD: Former Planning secretary Dr Akhtar Hassan Khan on Wednesday challenged Habib Bank Limited’s (HBL) privatisation to the Aga Khan Fund for Development in the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
Supreme Court Bar Association Senior Vice President Muhammad Ikram Chaudhry filed the constitutional petition under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution challenging the privatisation process’s transparency.
Dr Khan also raised the fundamental rights enshrined in Articles 3, 4, 9, 14, 15, 37 and 38. He said 19 parties had shown interest in the bank and three of them were selected for bidding after their credentials were scrutinised.
The three selected were the Aga Khan Fund for Development, Central Insurance Company and Supreme Council for Economic Affairs and Investment (Doha, Qatar) and after an assessment of the bids, the Aga Khan Fund’s was accepted and the cabinet’s committee for privatisation approved it on January 4, 2004. The bid was Rs 22.4 billion.
Dr Khan said the bank started working as a limited company in 1941 and had 30 branches at Partition.
He said HBL’s net assets increased from Rs 12.8 billion in 2001 to Rs 19.7 billion in 2002 and then to Rs 23.7 billion in 2003 and the highest bid price was less than the current value of the net assets. —APP