The Senate Standing Committee on Climate Change on Friday took strong exception to the poor sanitation condition at Faisal Mosque and the surrounding areas of the national icon.
Chaired by Senator Sitara Ayaz, the committee took up issues pertaining to the mosque's maintenance and cleanliness as well as the management and protection of the Margalla Hills National Park (MHNP).
It stated that action should be taken against the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and other institutions responsible for poor sanitation at and around Faisal Mosque. The committee members took the position that Faisal Mosque is the identity of Islamabad, therefore, negligence over the mosque’s cleanliness will not be tolerated.
Senator Ayaz said the committee members have already visited the spot and inspected it while Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed said that it is the responsibility of all of us to keep the mosque clean.
Another member of the committee, Senator Faisal Javed said that we have to devise a standard procedure for cleaning of the mosque so that we do not face administrative and financial problems on a daily basis. It was asserted that the Imam must emphasise the importance of cleanliness in his khutbas.
Furthermore, Senator Syed maintained that the issue of climate change is of utmost importance. “Pakistan is the seventh worst affected country by climate change and we have to look at it as a threat,” he exclaimed.
The committee reviewed the construction, deforestation and pollution situation at the MHNP. The Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC) secretary mentioned that a Wildlife Conservation Centre (WCC) would be set up in place of the zoo for which PC-1 is in the process of preparation.
The committee also expressed concerns over deforestation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on the other side of MHNP and decided to hold talks with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government in this regard.
Meanwhile, the committee was apprised that over 100 clean up drives were organised in different trails of the MHNP from March 2016 to February 2020. The Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) officials briefed the committee that many tonnes of litter and garbage is being removed and the national park was being declared plastic free.
Discussing the management and protection of the park and the challenges that it faces, the committee was informed that District Administration Islamabad issued Section 144 to control environmentally-destructive activities.
The IWMB official informed the committee that efforts were being made to modify rules so that violators are fined. "Warnings have been sent to local councilors and restaurants within the park," he added. The committee was further briefed of the issue of ownership of MHNP where the Punjab government had leased the land to the Capital Development Authority (CDA) for management purposes, adding that boundary demarcation was another persistent issue. It was asserted that the biggest problem was that CDA worked in silos and hence issues persist.
The committee was also informed that major plans were underway that include an education and awareness centre and directed that implementation of all plans should be ensured at the earliest.
(WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT BY APP)
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