LAHORE - Where is the federal government, its Ministry of Finance, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) as the Bank of Punjab faces huge deficits because of mismanagement by the previous administration, which dished out Rs 8.6 billion to Haris Steel Industries? Sanctioning loans worth Rs.8.6 billion to an unknown company on fake securities was not the only crime of the bank management. A bigger fraud was committed when the former President Hamesh Khan rescheduled the whole loan, requiring the Harris Steels owner to pay their first instalment in 2011 with no mark up. As per rescheduling, the mill was required to pay back the loan within 18 years starting from 2011. Interestingly, Hamesh Khan did this rescheduling just a few days before his sacking. As the Punjab government alone is taking all the pains to recover money and to bring the culprits to book, where are the other stakeholders? It is quite surprising to observe that the federal government is keeping mum as probe into this scam has been finalised and the courts are being involved by the accused to get relief. It seems as if there is no coordination between the province and centre in this respect. It seems as if the federal government looks the other way while the banks are being challenged by fraudulent elements. As a matter of principle, the Punjab government should have taken up the issue with the Federal government at the highest level. With hardly any push from the top, we have not seen the Law Minister, Finance Minister or Advisor and top bureaucrats taking any interest in the issue. No doubt, the issue is very important for the PML-N led Punjab government, but we have not seen the opposition highlight this issue on the floor of the house. The Harris Steel Mills scam is the biggest scam in the history of the banking sector with serious repercussions for other financial institutions. As such it merits a lengthy debate in both the houses, National Assembly and Senate. It seems as if stopping corruption is not a priority of the present government. The story of Haris Steel scam exposes some inherent flaws in our banking sector that need to be addressed by the State Bank of Pakistan and other regulators. The first question that comes to mind is how a single person can be so powerful as to dish out loans worth billions to his favourites. As each bank functions under certain checks: the case of such huge loans must have been presented before a Board of Directors of BoP for scrutiny or approval. It needs to be examined if the checks imposed by the banks are effective or not. The Punjab government dissolved the entire Board when the scandal was unearthed. But in this case it was too late and too little. The members of the Board of Directors should have been taken to task for their complicity in the crime. Another point that disturbs an ordinary person is why the State Bank has taken a back seat on this issue. Soon after the elections that PML-N won with a clear majority in the Punjab, the Governor State Bank met Sharif Brothers and narrated the entire story about the Haris Steel Mill Scam. The Sharifs did their part by sacking the President and by dissolving the Board and then pursuing the case passionately all along. But the SBP and its top officials are not coming forward with the necessary back up, leaving the Punjab government to fight the battle as its own. It is learnt that the SBP was fully in the picture when the hefty loan was being sanctioned. Why then did the SBP leave the issue in the middle and why did it not cause enough drum-beating, as was required from it? Now when the scam is fully established, its needs be known whether SBP has conducted any probe or not. If yes, has the bank proposed any corrective measures or taken up the issue at its own with the federal government for the good of the banking sector? At stake here is the future of hundreds of thousands of depositors and also other financial institutions. But the issue is still not serious enough for the stakeholders, it seems.