LAHORE - Internal warring amongst leading biscuit manufacturer and EBMs shareholders heated up with the Sindh High Court issuing of show cause notices for contempt of court against Khawar Butt, Mrs. Rashida Butt, Mrs. Sadia Naveed, Ebrahim Qassim, Hroon Qasim and Iqbal Mohammad.

EBM management claims its foreign minority shareholder ABIL (A UK based company) is creating unnecessary hurdles in the profit making company’s operations while the major shareholders are wrongfully oppressing it.

This long standing dispute between ABIL and the majority shareholders of EBM led by Khawar Butt has taken a more serious turn now. In what is alleged as violation of Supreme Court judgment by Khawar Butt and Ebrahim Qassim and their immediate family members.

On March 13, the Sindh High Court in its order issued them show cause notices holding that “it prima facie appears that alleged contemnors  Khawar Butt, Rahida Khawar Butt, Sadia Naveed, Ebrahim Qassim, Haroon Qasim and Iqbal Ali Mohammad) have not regard or sanctity for the orders of the court.

 Two-member appellate bench of the SHC led by late Justice Sabihuddin Ahmed in its judgment had expressed strong disapproval of the conduct of EBM Directors led by Khwar Butt. The case record showed that EBM’s directors were already found guilty of contempt of court by the same High Court in 2003 for violating court orders, but the fine imposed at that time was set aside by the appellate bench.

Earlier, The SC had also dismissed the appeal filed by EBM Directors holding “Indeed the Directors of the company (EBM) exercise fiduciary powers and are required to exercise such powers bonafide and in the interest and benefit of the company and its members without causing oppression.

Such fiduciary powers in facts and circumstances of the present case as per record were not exercised bonafide by the Directors.”

The final verdict of the court that the Directors of EBM, Khawar Butt, Rahida Khawar Butt, Sadia Naveed, Ebrahim Qassim, Haroon Qasim and Iqbal Ali Mohammad did not act bonafide in the exercise of fiduciary powers complicates maters further for Pakistan’s leading biscuit manufacturers as the standing and reputation of its entire board of directors is now under cloud of the verdict against them by the highest court in the country, said the sources.

The shareholders dispute between foreign minority shareholder ABIL and the local group led by Khawar sparked renewed interest and the contempt trial scheduled for the second week of April will be closely followed by the corporate industry.