CDA pounder for securing land in Margalla Hill's historic communities

CDA pounder for securing land in Margalla Hill’s historic communities

CDA pounder for securing land in Margalla Hill’s historic communities. People from the Capital Development Authority (CDA) talked about how they plan to buy land from people who used to live in the old villages of Margalla Hills, Zone 3.

According to the Islamabad Master Plan 2040, there will be a lot of tall buildings in Zone 4 by 2040.

It was CDA Chairman Mr. Amir Ali Ahmed who talked about the idea of buying land in villages near the Margalla Hills National Park, like Talhar and Gokina, while he was in charge. The decision will be made in the next few days, and we will let you know soon.

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An official from the CDA said that the civic agency wouldn’t be forced to buy land. The agency will do this: They will go with the soft acquisition. During this type of acquisition, people won’t sell the land to people who want to buy it privately.

Islamabad is divided into five zones, and the Margalla Hills National Park is in Zone-III. It is important because Islamabad is split into five zones. 50,398 acres make up Zone-III; 19,992 acres were bought, and 18,398 acres were owned and bought. 12,008 acres were state and forest land. The official from the CDA also said that the agency will only buy land from old villages.

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The scenic beauty of the Margalla Hills is in jeopardy

The scenic beauty of the Margalla Hills is in jeopardy

The scenic beauty of the Margalla Hills is in jeopardy. Margalla Hills National Park’s vegetation and fauna face grave threats of extinction due to frequent fires and careless visitors who fling rubbish with impunity.

Margalla Hills National Park (MHNP) covers an area of 17,386 hectares and features six trails (hiking tracks). Four of these are open to the public, and the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board reported that over 17,000 regular hikers and casual sightseers visit each week (IWMB).

Regular hikers arrive with a sense of purpose and take responsibility for trash prevention. However, most visitors take a day out of their hectic schedules and leave behind trash that includes plastic bottles, wrappers, tins, juice cartons, shopping bags, and other dangerous items.

According to the IWMB, the MHNP is the third-largest national park in the world. It is home to various wildlife, including 38 mammalian species, 350 bird species, 32 reptile species, 9 amphibian species, and 650 plant species.

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The fires that erupt regularly in this natural wonder have a devastating effect on the vegetation and fauna. In April 2021 alone, the park experienced over a half-dozen fire accidents, killing a considerable number of birds during their prime mating season; IWMB Manager Operations Sakhawat Ali expressed regret. The official blamed the local timber mafia for most of the fires and visitors for the remainder. These individuals like barbecuing or lighting fires for recreational purposes and do not care to extinguish them before leaving the area properly.

He vowed to continue educating visitors about the need of protecting the park, which serves as the scenic identity of the federal capital. Ali stated that a 12-member team was assigned to focus on the four active paths regarding the board’s safety procedures. Meanwhile, 38 park rangers have been assigned to oversee wildlife preservation and monitoring in the park’s field regions.

He said CCTV cameras were erected at the trailheads as part of the capital’s Safe City program.

Meanwhile, British High Commissioner to Pakistan Christian Turner shared a photo on social media of himself carrying two rubbish bags from Margalla Hills.

This gesture went viral on social media and fueled attempts to preserve the MHNP’s natural character. The scenic beauty of the Margalla Hills is in jeopardy.

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IHC commissions a survey of the damage to Margalla Hills National Park

IHC commissions a survey of the damage to Margalla Hills National Park

IHC commissions a survey of the damage to Margalla Hills National Park. The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday held the federal government, the Capital Development Authority (CDA), and the Islamabad Animal Management Board (IWMB) responsible for their complacency towards the destruction of Margalla Hills National Park and wildlife sanctuary.

Chief Justice Athar Minallah’s ten-page order expressed concern that those tasked with protecting and preserving the national park’s allocated territory appeared to have been responsible for its destruction.

They issued the ruling during the hearing of a suit filed by Prof Zahid Baig Mirza, alleging that the Islamabad Master Plan had been violated (IMP).

Khalid Jawed Khan, Pakistan’s Attorney General (AGP), requested to consult with the administration.

The court holds the federal government, the CDA, and the IWMB accountable for their complacency about park and animal sanctuary destruction.

The order remarked that in the instance of the designated national park area, the role of these three organizations appeared to be a textbook illustration of the erosion of the rule of law and promotion of environmental degradation.

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The order noted that the damage already done must be immeasurable and irreversible, regretting that the court did not hesitate to record its observation that governance in the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) over the last six decades appeared to have been based on benefiting the privileged and elite.

“Policymakers’ actions and decisions appear to have facilitated environmental degradation, severely harming the people of Pakistan’s basic rights,” the order concluded.

As a result, the IHC directed Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam, the secretary of climate change, the chairman of the CDA, and the chairperson of the IWMB to conduct a joint survey of the notified areas of the national park and wildlife sanctuary and submit a joint report detailing the damage.

The directive stated that they are also expected to take urgent action to protect the notified area from further harm, adding that these officials would ensure that no construction or illegal activities occurred within the park’s notified area.

Additionally, they will identify the officials and agencies responsible for the park’s damage and propose ways to hold them accountable.

Any activity or construction in violation of the Islamabad Wildlife (Protection, Preservation, Conservation and Management) Ordinance 1979 be halted, the order stated, adding that the AGP should examine the purported grant of more than 8,000 acres in the park to the General Headquarters (GHQ) Remount, Veterinary and Farms Directorate and assist the high court in determining its legality, as it appears to violate the laws on the face of it.

Additionally, the CDA will submit a report justifying leasing land in the park to Messers Monal Group of Companies and authorizing the latter to enter into a fictitious lease arrangement with the Remount.

Additionally, the Pakistan Environment Protection Agency director-general will conduct an independent examination of the wildlife sanctuary and park’s notified areas and submit a report outlining the level of environmental deterioration and recommending ways to prevent further degradation.

Additionally, the court modified its March 3, 2021, decision to require Monal Restaurant to deposit any unpaid rent in the court where litigation was pending until Dec 8.

Pakistan is one of the most vulnerable countries to the life-threatening consequences of climate change. According to the court, experts have identified Pakistan as a primary target of global warming.

The invasion and destruction of the national park endanger the lives of Pakistanis, and those responsible for the park’s irreparable harm and destruction have jeopardized future generations, it mourned.

The directive stated that the rich and elite benefit, while the impoverished and marginalized segments of society bear the brunt of climate change and global warming.

The state and its public officials have a fundamental obligation to end such impunity, it noted.

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IHC prohibits constructions in Margalla Hills Park National Park

IHC prohibits constructions in Margalla Hills National Park

The IHC prohibits Margalla Hills Park. IHC has declared the Margalla Hills National Park off-limits to all building types (MHNP).

The court stated that the chairman of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWFMB) would be held accountable for any construction in the MHNP.

During the hearing, the lawyer for Monal Restaurant stated that the hotel was built without the approval of the CDA and that they were now being evicted.

He claimed that the Remount Veterinary and Farms Directorate (RVFD) and the CDA were attempting to collect rent.

Read more with EL news :Margalla Hills leopard conservation zone ordered by PM

He stated that they had filed a civil court case opposing their eviction from the location.

Athar Minallah, Chief Justice of the International Human Rights Court, noted that the hotel management signed the lease agreement with an organisation that did not own the site.

“Would you accept if the high court registrar gave you land in a national park?” the court inquired of the petitioner’s attorney.

Nobody has the right to take ownership of state land, the IHC court stated.

He inquired about the directorate’s legal authority to claim custody of state territory or manage any land within a national park.

The chief justice of the IHC stated that the RVFD’s allegation was a breach of the constitution.

The bench stated that it might direct the directorate to submit the rent obtained from the Monal Hotel in the rent and that if the directorate fails to satisfy the court regarding the lease agreement, the trial could begin.

In the judgment, the court stated that the hotel entered into a new deal with the directorate following the expiration of its 15-year lease on August 31, 2021.

Chief Justice Athar Minallah of the IHC stated that the restaurant’s attorney could not convince the court that the contract was legally enforceable.

Read more with EL news : The Margalla Hills encroachment operation by the CDA is now complete

According to the court, the directorate cannot claim possession of land according to Article 173 or the military land manual, nor can it lease it.

Similarly, the court stated that the CDA was not permitted to lease any land within the national park or permit development.

According to the IHC chairman, a case involving the leasing of the linked property is already pending adjudication, and the Supreme Court has previously declared that no illegal activity or construction is permitted inside the jurisdiction of a national park.

The bench directed the interior secretary, the CDA, and the IWMB to send representatives to the next hearing to clarify the lease arrangement’s authority.

Additionally, the court asked the civic authority and IWMB to notify the court of any illegal projects within the MHNP’s jurisdiction.

CDA lawyer Hafiz Irfan stated that the directorate seeks possession of the hotel’s land and 8,400 acres of Margalla Hills land.

He stated that the CDA granted the restaurant a 15-year lease, but the eatery just began paying rent to the directorate in 2016.

At this point, the hotel’s counsel stated that the decision was made by the federal government and was also approved by the CDA.

The IHC chief justice stated that the elite ruined the national park and inquired whether there was any law in place. IHC has declared the Margalla Hills National Park off-limits to all building types (MHNP).

He noted that the RVFD lacks the authority to enter into lease agreements with third parties. Additionally, the court set November 9 for the hearing of all matters involving the MHNP.

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Margalla Hills leopard conservation zone ordered by PM

Margalla Hills leopard conservation zone ordered by PM

Margalla Hills leopard conservation zone ordered by PM. Due to the expanding leopard population in the Margalla Hills range, Prime Minister Imran Khan ordered the creation of a conservation zone on Wednesday.

The PM also approved the Wildlife Information Centre at Marghazar Zoo. The decisions were made by the Prime Minister’s Climate Change Committee.

The Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) reported increased leopard sightings in the Margalla Hills, particularly on trails 4 and 6.

The IWMB is working with the CDA to build fences and gates around trail 4, which will be closed at dusk. Trail 4 was opened earlier this month to reduce crowding and illicit wood cutting.

“The protected leopard zone will provide a healthy eco-system to predators permanently inhabiting the hills,” the PM Office cited him as saying.

Prime Minister Khan approved the National Climate Change Policy 2021 and the National Wildlife Policy 2021 in concept.

He established a think group to coordinate efforts among ministries and create innovative ideas to combat climate change. Also, he noted, the KPK government’s signature “Ten Billion Tree” campaign had established Pakistan as a “Green Champion.”

Mr. Khan said the international community recognized Pakistan’s realistic and tangible actions to reduce climate change consequences and asked the Ministry of Climate Change to review targets and develop new goals to expedite environmental preservation.

A qualified workforce and advanced technology are required to preserve the country’s national parks, he noted.

The PM praised Special Assistant to the PM on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam’s efforts to protect the environment and promote Pakistan’s efforts in this subject.

Amin Aslam had earlier informed the group on country contributions, climate change, national wildlife policy, and green climate diplomacy.

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Dr. Moeed Yousaf, Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Shehbaz Gill, Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan, and Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Khalid Khursheed were among those present.

They used a video link to connect Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief ministers, Azad Kashmir’s prime minister, and Sindh’s environment minister.

The IWMB noted that, unlike Ayubia, no livestock attacks had been documented in the Margallas due to wild boar, monkeys, and barking deer.

The board also noted five leopards in the hills, indicating a healthy ecosystem. It further advised tourists to use caution on routes 4 and 6 and return before dusk as leopards travel between these paths, sleeping during the day and emerging at dusk.

“In the event of a leopard encounter, trekkers should freeze and exhibit no signs of fear,” the board recommended.

The IWMB recently released photographs of Shezadi, a female common leopard who lives permanently between trails 4 and 6 in Margalla Hills National Park. Shehzadi was caught on camera after IWMB workers set up traps for several nights in late January. Leopards guard 50 square km of land.

The common leopard is a critically endangered species and the park’s top predator.

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The Margalla Hills encroachment operation by the CDA is now complete

The Margalla Hills encroachment operation by the CDA is now complete

The Margalla Hills encroachment operation by CDA ended on Sunday. There was construction going on in the vicinity. According to Prime Minister Imran Khan has asked the CDA to clear all encroachments operation  from the Margalla Hills. As a result, the CDA carried out some operations in the highlands, but the primary function took place on Sunday in the Talhar area.

Senior police officials, including Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqaat, CDA Director Enforcement Syed Fatehul Manan, and Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqaat, were also present.
They removed Margalla Hills encroachments on the directions of the Prime Minister.

Locals objected to the operation, but the deputy commissioner informed them that no one was authorized to affect the landscape of the Margalla Hills by carrying out construction activities under the legislation.

CDA official stated that, we finished our operation in Talhar today, and now we will undertake a plantation drive in the area. He added that private developers were building in the region, but the site was set aside for grassing rather than construction.

They executed the operation on the orders of the CDA chairman, who also happens to be the top commissioner. Following his orders, five people were arrested on Wednesday while guarding a construction site where plots were being carved out after the land.

There are around 4,000 Kanals of land in the stated region that belong to local people or those who bought it from them, but the status of this land is not suitable for construction.

Land mafia had constructed illegal buildings at the foot of the Margalla Hills in Islamabad for some time now, the CDA administration took appropriate action and evacuated the mountain with the support of district administration and Islamabad police.

The Enforcement Department used heavy machinery to demolish multiple unlawful structures in Talhar and Gokina, areas of Islamabad, freeing them from the grip of the land mafia.

The CDA is engaged in continuous operations against illegal Margalla Hills encroachments and constructions, which has resulted in the retrieval of land worth billions of rupees. On the federal government directive, several land grabbers have been detained and taken into custody.

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