LAHORE Justice Umar Ata Bandial of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday put off till December 14, hearing of a petition filed by a consortium of banks to seek winding up of three steel units of Ittefaq Group of Companies which the families had earmarked in 1998 to let the banks recover Rs 3 billion loans owed to the Group. The judge directed the petitioners and respondents Sharif family to give recommendations till next date of hearing regarding disposal and sale of the units for recovery of loans. The petition was pending since 1998 and the court took after an application for early hearing was moved by the petitioners including National Bank of Pakistan, Habib Bank Ltd, United Bank Ltd, Zarai Taraqiati Bank of Pakistan, Muslim Commercial Bank, Picic Bank, First Punjab Mudarba and Corporate Law Authority. Earlier, the LHC had ordered the sale of these units; however, the decision was challenged by Mian Meraj Din, a shareholder in Ittefaq Group and Nawaz Sharifs uncle, on the ground that the auction of units was in violation of Section 284 of the Companies Ordinance. The four units, including Ittefaq Foundries, Ittefaq Brothers and Brother Steel Mills were voluntarily handed over by Sharif Family to petitioner-banks to adjust the loan amount, but the banks had insisted on payment in cash.