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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC), Thursday, restrained the secretary Ministry of Defence and the Quarter Master General (QMG) of Pakistan Army from undertaking any activity or purported construction outside the specified area allotted for establishing the “Defence Complex” in Sector E-10. A single bench of Chief Justice Athar Minallah issued the directions, while hearing a petition filed by Muhammad Jahangir Hussain Shah who challenged the allegedly illegal encroachment made by respondent no 3 i.e. the Quarter Master General.

The IHC bench also directed the secretary Ministry of Interior and chairmen of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board to jointly inspect the area forthwith and ensure that no activity whatsoever is undertaken or carried out by respondent no3 outside the allotted land, particularly, within the notified area of the Margalla Hills National Park. The court also directed them to submit a compliance report on the next date.

The IHC chief justice said, “Chairman CDA shall ensure that no construction or activity is allowed within the allotted land in E-10 in violation of the aforementioned laws/regulations and approved layout plan, etc.”

“The secretary, Ministry of Interior and the chairman CDA shall submit their respective affidavits confirming that no activity or construction has been or is being carried out in violation of the approvals granted under the aforementioned enforced laws/ regulations,” added the bench.

It further said that the officials shall forthwith initiate proceedings and take action against any illegal activity or construction undertaken by respondent no3 and the secretary, Ministry of Interior and the chief commissioner, Islamabad Capital Territory shall ensure that the petitioner nor any other resident is harassed.

The bench further said that in case the aforementioned laws/regulations have been violated, then the secretaries of the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Interior, and the chairman CDA are directed to appear before the Court to explain why proceedings may not be ordered to be initiated against officials responsible for taking the law into their own hands or facilitating illegalities/encroachments in the protected notified area of Margalla Hills National Park.

In this matter, the petitioner submitted he is a resident of village Bairi Meera, which falls within the notified area of Margalla Hills National Park. He asserted that a specified area was allotted by the CDA under the Capital Development Authority Ordinance, 1960 for establishing the “Defence Complex” in Sector E-10.

The petitioner has asserted that the construction of wall is outside the specified area allotted for establishing the “Defence Complex”.

The IHC bench noted that the Supreme Court vide orders, dated 25-10-2013, 16-03-2015, 18-03- 2015, 19-03-2015 explicitly held that no illegal activity or construction can be allowed within the notified area of the National Park. It added that moreover, the judgment of this Court titled,“ Shahzada Sikandar Ul Mulk and 4 others v Capital Development Authority and 4 others” was upheld by the august Supreme Court, wherein, it has been held that no activity or construction can be allowed in violation of the Ordinance of 1960, the Islamabad Capital Territory (Zoning) Regulations, 1992, and others.

The bench observed that it, prima facie, appears to the Court that the Ministry of Defence through respondent no3 has violated the aforementioned laws and unambiguous directions of the august Supreme Court as well as this Court in case of any activity or purported construction undertaken outside the demarcated boundaries of the area allotted for establishing the “Defence Complex” in Sector E-10. The case was adjourned until December 28.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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