IHC seals Monal Restaurant, targets military encroachment in the national park. On Tuesday, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) ordered city officials to close today’s Monal Restaurant and seize control of the Margalla Greens Golf Club, which was built on encroached territory. The IHC also declared the military’s claim to 8,000 acres of Margalla Hills National Park unconstitutional.
The ruling was issued by IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah to Islamabad Capital Territory Chief Commissioner Amer Ali Ahmed during a hearing on encroachments in the national park.
“This court will safeguard the public interest as a whole,” the judge stated.
The climate change secretary, who was present at the session, pressed for the release of Islamabad’s master plan.
Justice Minallah stated that all rules pertained to the three branches of the armed forces and inquired as to their implementation. He questioned whether the Pakistan Air Force had obtained consent from the Capital Development Authority (CDA) for the constructions carried out by the Pakistan Air Force.
“It is probable that they are concerned about their security,” he observed.
The judge stated that the defence secretary’s concerns should be heard as well, and the legislation should be strictly enforced. “If the lease of Monal has expired, seal it,” Justice Minallah remarked.
CDA officials responded to the judge’s directions and sealed the restaurant.
The Environmental Protection Agency was instructed to prepare a report on the harm caused by the national park’s construction. Additionally, the IHC directed the CDA to assume control of the Margalla Greens Golf Club today.
“The defence secretary should conduct an investigation into the navy golf course’s encroachments and impose appropriate action against those involved,” Justice Minallah stated.
The IHC directed the defence secretary to oversee compliance with the court’s instructions and to ensure that none of the armed services’ three branches engaged in illegal construction.
“The defence secretary and chief commissioner should ensure that no complaints are brought before the court at this time,” Justice Minallah stated.
On November 9, the IHC held many officials accountable for their complacency about the devastation of Margalla Hills National Park and the wildlife sanctuary. Additionally, the court ordered a survey of the damage and the submission of a report.
Earlier that month, the court had also asked Pakistan’s attorney general to explain whether Messers Remount, the General Headquarters’ (GHQ) veterinary and agriculture department, could lawfully possess or manage state land within the national park’s designated region.
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‘Armed forces should not be a source of contention.’
The court was notified at the start of the hearing by the additional attorney general (AAG) that Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam would be unable to appear due to a positive Covid-19 test.
Justice Minallah questioned the climate change secretary about his job description, noting that “the ministry has admitted that the state’s land has been encroached upon by private individuals.”
“How should this court proceed?” “What is occurring is unexpected,” the court stated.
Justice Minallah observed that “lawlessness” pervades the capital territory’s 1400 square miles.
“Three armed forces [wings] have been established into sectors (army, military, and navy). Armed forces should be completely uncontroversial. “It is not in the public interest,” said the court.
He stated that the law was clear on who may manage the armed forces’ lands and how they might do so, adding that the court would not allow anyone to politicize the armed forces. IHC closes the Monal Restaurant and targets military incursions into the national park
“A national park area is a protected area that cannot be used for any purpose. Nobody is permitted to cut grass within the national park region,” the court stated.
At this moment, Justice Minallah questioned where a land with no use or purpose could go. The AAG responded that it was the administration’s responsibility to determine this, to which the court said, “This is a matter for the law, not the executive.”
“No institution may own property,” the judge stated. “This court is tasked with the responsibility of safeguarding the national park. “The 8,000 acres of land have been added to the national park,” he noted.
Justice Minallah remarked that the armed forces were not autonomous, but rather were under to the Ministry of Defence’s direction.
The top justice stated that the navy’s construction of a golf course on encroached territory was not a “positive thing.” “Every citizen has a healthy regard for the military forces. If they do this (invade state property), it will convey the wrong message,” Justice Minallah observed.
“First and foremost, we must hold ourselves accountable. The poor are impoverished as a result of lawlessness.
“You admitted yourself that the golf course was illegal,” the judge stated before ordering the military secretary to turn over the golf course’s land to the CDA.
Meanwhile, CDA Chairman Amer Ali Ahmed informed the court that the navy had received a warning to close its sailing club.
The IHC ruled on Friday that the navy’s sailing club and farmhouses built on national park territory were illegal and ordered their demolition.
The defence secretary then informed the court that communities and hamlets were encroaching on park property as well.
The CDA chairman stated that alterations to the city’s master plan were being made without consideration and that “every institution has encroached in some way.”
He stated that the subject would also be brought to the cabinet’s attention.
“Once government institutions refrain from encroaching [on state territory], no one else will dare,” the CDA chairman stated. IHC closes the Monal Restaurant and targets military incursions into the national park
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