ISLAMABAD Silk Bank, widely considered to be the ownership of Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin as his son heads it, was allowed to start operations with Rs 2.5 billions paid-up capital as against the requirement of Rs 6 billion. This was transpired from proceedings of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance that met with MNA Fozia Wahab in chair here on Friday. However, representatives of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) were unable to give any justification as to why the Silk Bank was allowed to start operations without fulfilling the requirement of minimum paid-up capital prescribed in the banking law. Finding the situation getting embarrassing with the Finance Minister coming under fire, Committee Chairperson Fozia Wahab, who is also Information Secretary of the ruling PPP, asked the media persons present to leave the meeting. Kashmala Tariq MNA who was among the opposition members probing the Finance Ministers involvement in getting alleged concessions for the Sink Bank walked out in protest. Later, members on the committee from the PPP including Nafeesa Shah went out to appease and bring Ms Tariq back to the meeting. The Chairperson later on also permitted the media back in. The issue of Silk Bank was left pending till the next meeting of the Committee on October 28, 2009. The SBP is supposed to come up with all the required data of the commercial banks including those availing concessions besides the relevant laws at hand in the next meeting. The issue of Silk Bank came to the fore when the minimum paid up capital was under discussion during the meeting taking up the Banking Companies (Amendment) Bill 2009 for review. The opposition members pointed out that the State Bank of Pakistan was not autonomous, which it ideally should be. Secretary Finance Salman Siddiq conceded to the opposition members viewpoint that the SBP was working under a wing of the Finance Ministry. That is why, the opposition members pointed out that the central bank was unable to resist the alleged concessions to the bank allegedly owned by the Finance Minister. The Committee meeting on Friday was aimed at reviewing the Anti-Money Laundering (Amendment) Bill 2009, and Banking Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2009. The two Ordinances were the legacies of the Musharraf regime that the Opposition members especially Khawaja Asif of PML-N had emphasized should be left to be lapsed and the government should come up with fresh legislation in place.