ISLAMABAD: Islamabad High Court (IHC) rebuked the city’s top civic body on showing leniency to prime minister’s Bani Gala residence during its anti-encroachment operation.
The court asked why the Capital Development Authority (CDA) demolished kiosks if it was afraid of taking action against the prime minister’s residence in Bani Gala.
A two-member bench headed by Chief Justice Athar Minallah comprising Justice Mian Gul Hasan Aurangzaib heard a case of CDA operation in a private housing society on Wednesday.
Minallah asked CDA representative that if they have regularised Bani Gala yet to which he replied that a committee in this regard had been formed. The CJ reprimanded the official and said that why the authority demolished kiosks if it feared to carry out an operation against Bani Gala’s encroachments.
The court remarked that the action was not being taken because the rich inhabited the area not the poor.
Further, Justice Aurangzaib said, “Shall we summon Chairman CDA in a contempt case?”
The court directed to de-freeze housing society’s bank accounts and instructed chairman CDA to submit a report in next hearing on October 22.
IHC restores director zoo
IHC exonerated the director of Islamabad Zoo in contempt application regarding handing over the operation of the zoo to Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC).
The court ordered his restoration to the post and summoned a report from him after appointing him as inquiry officer for investigating animals’ deaths, protest by employees and usage of funds in the zoo.
Chief Justice Athar Minallah barred CDA and Islamabad Municipal Corporation (IMC) from any kind of intervention in the inquiry.
During the hearing, the court said to the Director Islamabad Zoo Rana Tahir that they have heard about his honesty and they saw such officials with a respectful eye.
Tahir informed the court that no transfers were done in zoo staff which was a major problem and added that strike by the union had wreaked problems in zoo affairs
The court asked, “ What kind of union it is? Is there some treasure buried in the zoo?” and said that animals were dying because of the strike.
Minallah said that it was the collective responsibility to protect the rights of animals and added, “The Holy Prophet (PBUH) also preached for taking care of animals hundreds of years ago which rest of the world adopted later.”
The court sought a fresh report from zoo administration and adjourned the hearing of the case for a week.
NA panel seeks clarification from CDA
National Assembly Standing Committee expressed concerns over-allotment of Margalla Hills National Park (MHNP) land for the establishment of hotels on forest land.
The committee meeting was held under the chairpersonship of Munaza Hassan yesterday. The chairperson inquired the Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about the alleged illegal allocation of related land.
At this EPA Director General (DG) Farzana Altaf Shah said that the agency had clearly opposed recommendation of utilization National Park’s land for setting up hotels. However, she expressed, that the Capital Development Authority (CDA) allowed the contractors to build restaurants and hotels in the park despite their resistance.
“We have also stopped construction of chalets in MHNP which are being built in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa side of the national park comprising Makhnayal area,” the DG EPA told the committee chairperson.
The committee chairperson opined that environment, wildlife and clean ambience could not be jeopardised at the expense of tourists. “If this may not be stopped now it will bring more violations of the ecology and law in future. ”
The committee proposed to call CDA officials to brief the committee on the issue. Further, Inspector General Forest Salman Khan Warriach told the committee that there were more encroachments on the land of MHNP owing to its economic value.
Adviser to PM on Climate Change Amin Aslam said according to WWF reports, the endangered species of Blind Indus Dolphin and Markhor had been excluded from the list of extinct species. He added that Pakistan has become the only country to retain the maximum number of mangroves in its coastal areas.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 3rd, 2019.