The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has instructed the administration of the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) to seal the Monal Restaurant and retake possession of the Margalla Greens Golf Club within 24 hours. The decision came as a result of a hearing on a case that was held earlier this morning.
A Greek citizen petitioned the IHC, claiming that Monal Restaurant, a scenic eatery in Margall Hills, and Margalla Greens Golf Club, a world-class golf facility run by Pakistan Navy, were built on encroached land in the Margalla Hills National Park, which violated the country’s environmental rules.
For today’s hearing, Chief Justice (CJ) IHC, Justice Athar Minallah, called up Chairman Capital Development Authority (CDA), Engineer Farkhand Iqbal, Secretary Defense, Lt. Gen. (r) Mian Hilal Hussain, and Secretary Interior, Yousuf Naeem Khokar.
During the hearing, Justice Athar Minallah described the situation in Islamabad as “horrible,” adding that senior officials have turned a blind eye to the invasion of land in the Margalla Hills National Park.
He added that crime has increased significantly in the capital and that all three armed forces have built facilities in three sectors of Islamabad. He also advised the armed forces not to become controversial by breaking the country’s laws.
According to CDA Chairman, every organization in the country has encroached on state land in some way. In response, Justice Athar Minallah asked him to identify where the courts had encroached on state property. If a court has encroached on state land, the IHC will ensure that the land is returned to the state.
According to Justice Athar Minallah, the fact that a concerned Greek citizen approached the court to identify the invasion on protected state land under the nose of authorities is an embarrassment for the country.
While rehearing the case, Justice Athar Minallah directed the ICT administration to close Monal Restaurant and retake possession of Margalla Greens Golf Club within 24 hours.
In the event of failure, Justice Athar Minallah has threatened to initiate contempt proceedings against the Chairman of the CDA, the Secretary of the Interior, and the Secretary of Defense.
Furthermore, IHC declared the Veterinary and Farms Directorate of GHQ’s claim on 8,000 acres of land in the Margalla Hills National Park invalidated, directing Chairman CDA to build boundaries around the protected land to prevent future encroachment.