Pakistan

IHC orders to stop constructions in Margalla Hills

Written by The Frontier Post

ISLAMABAD (APP): The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday barred constructions at Margalla Hills national park and served notices to respondents seeking comments in a case against commercial activities and constructions in national park.

The court also summoned Attorney General of Pakistan Khalid Javed for assistance in the case on next date.

Chief Justice Minallah heard the case wherein Capital Development Authority (CDA)’s counsel Hafiz Arfat and Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB)’s lawyer Danial Hassan appeared before the court.

The court questioned the petitioner that who was the owner of Margalla Hills’ property. Whether the construction work was still continue there.

The petitioner’s lawyer said he was a tenant there and used to pay the rent at two forums. Now he had been given notice to evacuate the property, he said.

To a query, he told the court that he had an agreement with CDA. The court remarked that the land of Margalla hills belonged to federal government under Article 73. The petitioner had signed an agreement with a department which was not owner of the land, the court said.

The court said it was federal government who manage military and cantonment land, too. The lawyer said the property should not be evacuated from him in a conflict between CDA and military land.

The CDA’s lawyer informed the court that it had granted a fifteen year land lease to Monal Group for restaurant. The group had managed an agreement with military land authority before the expiry of the lease.

The court asked the CDA how it had violated the laws and remarked that the elite class had destroyed the national park. Whether there was any law in Islamabad, Justice Minallah asked.

The chief justice observed that chairman CDA and IWMB would be responsible if any illegal constructions were made in Margalla Hills. The private hotel management had adopted the stance that the CDA had granted permission for the restaurant but now the land was being evicted.

How the restaurant administration signed a deal with CDA and paid rent to farms directorate, the court asked. Chief Justice remarked apparently, the claim of farms directorate for the ownership of the land was against the constitution.

The CDA lawyer said the farms directorate had been claiming the ownership of 8,400 kanal lands of Margala hills besides the restaurant land. 

The court clubbed the identical petitions pertaining to Margallah Hills and adjourned it till November 9.

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The Frontier Post