The court said that under Article 73, the Margalla land belongs to the federal government only. Photo: Facebook
The Islamabad High Court banned construction on the Margalla hills and issued notices to the parties to respond, while summoning the Attorney General for assistance. Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Athar Minallah heard a case related to illegal constructions and business activities in the Margalla hills. During the hearing, Saad Hashmi, counsel for the petitioner Monal Group, Hafiz Arafat, counsel for Capital Development Authority (CDA) and Daniel Hassan, counsel for the Wildlife Management Board appeared before the court. The court inquired as to whose property the national park belonged to and whether any construction was taking place there at present. Petitioner’s lawyer said that I am a tenant there and I rent two places, now I have a notice to leave, the court asked who did you contract with?
On which the lawyer said that the agreement was made with CDA, the court said that under Article 73, the land of Margalla belongs only to the Federal Government, all the land of Military Land and Cantonment is managed by the Federal Government, which does not own the property. You have an agreement with Petitioner’s counsel pleaded that I should not be evicted in the dispute between the CDA and Military Land. The CDA’s lawyer said that the CDA had leased land to the Monal Group for a restaurant in Margalla for 15 years, and they had entered into an agreement with the Military Land Authority before the agreement expired.
The court asked if you had obtained permission from the CDA before entering into an agreement with the other party. The court asked the CDA lawyer how he violated the laws of Islamabad, the national park was destroyed by the elites, is there any law in Islamabad. The Chief Justice further said that the Chairman CDA and the Wildlife Board would be responsible if construction took place on the Margalla hills. The private hotel management said that the hotel was built on Margalla Hills under an agreement with the CDA but is now being evicted. The Chief Justice said that how did the private company enter into an agreement with the CDA and pay the rent to the Farms Directorate? How can the Farms Directorate claim possession of government land? Chief Justice Athar Minallah also said that the Farms Directorate’s claim to ownership of Margalla Hills was unconstitutional.
The CDA lawyer said that the Farms Directorate is claiming ownership not only of the hotel but also of 8,400 acres of Margalla Hills. The court summoned the Attorney General for assistance with the above steps and issued notices to the Farms Directorate and CDA for reply and directed to set all the cases in Margalla Hills National Park Area for hearing on November 9.