CDA fails to demarcate Margalla Hills National Park land

CDA fails to demarcate Margalla Hills National Park land

ISLAMABAD: Despite orders issued by the Islamabad High Court (IHC), the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has not carried out the delimitation plan on the Margalla Hills National Park (MHNP) as of yet. 

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On 11th January, 2022, the IHC had given orders for the demarcation of the boundaries of MHNP within 60 days. On 1st March, Board Member Naveed Illahi appointed a 5-member committee for this task. However, according to sources, there has been no significant progress so far.

According to the notification on 1st March, the Director Environment (Regional) was made the key committee member, along with Additional Deputy Commissioner Revenue ICT, Deputy Commissioner CDA, representatives of the Defence Ministry, and members of the Survey of Pakistan. 

The IHC order stated: “The respective secretaries of the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Interior and Chairman CDA shall jointly conduct a survey and demarcate the unharmed area of the notified National Park.

They will ensure that no activity or construction is allowed within the notified National Park as mandated under MLR-82, the CDA Ordinance 1960 and regulations made thereunder, the Islamabad Wildlife (Protection, Preservation, Conservation and Management Ordinance 1979, and the Islamabad Preservation of Landscape Ordinance 1966.”

A member CDA confirmed that a meeting will be held next week to expedite the process.

“Soon we will start a proper demarcation of MHNP,” he said, adding that there will be no cause for delay now. 

On 11th January, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah had also directed CDA to seal the naval golf course stretched across MHNP and, if it cannot be used for other purposes, to demolish it within 4 weeks. 

The high court had also denied the military’s claim over 8000 acres of land of the park, and also instructed the CDA to shut down the restaurant Monal that is located in the area.

The Defence Secretary was asked to determine which officials were responsible for building the golf course, and CDA Chairman was requested to investigate the construction of restaurants in MHNP. 

The CDA has given a lease of 15 years to Monal, which expired last year. A few years before the expiry, the rent was paid to the military instead as the latter maintained that the land belonged to them, according to a notification from 1912. 

Hence, CDA and the ICT administration sealed Monal, only to reopen it later due to orders issued by the Supreme Court.

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