‘Destruction’ of national park and wildlife sanctuary: IHC asks SAPM and others to visit areas, files report – Pakistan


ISLAMABAD: The High Court of Islamabad (IHC) observed that the federal government, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board appeared to have been complacent in the destruction of the notified areas of the “National Park” and the “Sanctuary National Park”.

On Tuesday, a single bench of Chief Justice Athar Minallah passed an ordinance on a petition calling for guidelines for the protection and preservation of Margalla Hills National Park.

He instructed the Prime Minister’s Special Assistant (SAPM) on Climate Change Amin Aslam, the Secretary of the Ministry of Climate Change and the President of CDA to jointly investigate the notified areas of the “National Park” and “Sanctuary. de la fauna ”and submit a report highlighting the damage to the hills.

The chief justice said; “They should also take immediate action to save the notified area from further damage.”

“Officials must immediately ensure that no construction takes place or illegal activity is carried out in the notified areas of the” National Park “, he added.

Pakistan Attorney General Khalid Jawed Khan, who appeared in court, requested an adjournment to allow him to consider the issues raised in the petitions.

The IHC bench noted; “The Attorney General, after examining the alleged grant of over eight thousand acres of land in the ‘national park‘ in favor of Remount, the Veterinary and Farms Directorate of the GHQ must assist this Court as to its legality because it, prima facie, appears to be in violation of the laws applied in the territory of the capital of Islamabad and of article 173 of the Constitution. “

He added that the CDA must submit a report justifying the rental of land in the “National Park” in favor of the M / s Monal group of companies and allowing the latter to sign an alleged lease contract with the Veterinary and Agricultural Directorate. by Remount.

The bench said that the members of the committee constituted under paragraph 8 (i) should identify the officials and authorities responsible for the destruction of the notified area of ​​the “National Park” and suggest how they could be held accountable for their actions and omissions.

He maintained that the members of the committee would be jointly and severally liable, in the event of encroachment or further destruction of the notified area of ​​the “National Park”.

The court said that the director general of the Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency will conduct an independent study of the notified area of ​​“Wildlife Sanctuary” and “National Park” and submit a report, among others, highlighting the extent of environmental degradation and suggesting measures to protect it from further destruction.

He continued that the injunction order, dated March 3, 2021, adopted in CR n ° 13/2021 is amended insofar as until the next fixed date, the rent due will be deposited with the court where the the action is pending.

The IHC noted; “The federal government is not vested with the power or the competence to allot or lease part of the notified area of ​​the” National Park “. The ordinance says that it appears that the Council constituted under the ordinance of 1979 failed in its legal obligation to protect, preserve and conserve the “National Park”.

Judge Minallah wrote that the granting and granting of the lease, at first glance, appears to be illegal and contrary to article 173 of the Constitution and the provisions of the ordinance of 1979. Activities within the “park national ”also appear to be in violation of the Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency Act 1997.

He observed that the Federal Government, the CDA and the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board appeared to have been complacent in destroying the most precious natural asset of the Pakistani people, namely the notified areas of the “National Park”. and the “Sanctuary National Park”.

The IHC stated that it is undeniable that the failure to protect, conserve and preserve the notified area of ​​the “national park” and the violations of the master plan have serious consequences, which inevitably lead to environmental degradation, a climate change and global warming.

He mentioned that Pakistan is among the first countries in the world classified as the most vulnerable to the deadly consequences of climate change. Experts have classified Pakistan as a prime target of global warming.

The encroachment and destruction of the “national park” has fatal consequences for the Pakistani people. Those responsible for the irreversible damage and destruction of the “National Park” have put the lives of future generations in great danger. The hearing was adjourned to December 12.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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