Islamabad’s top restaurant sealed, expansion halted over environmental degradation in the national park
A five-member Supreme Court bench led by the Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed has stopped the expansion work at Monal Restaurant and ordered the reforestation of the felled trees. It was noted that 500 to 1,000 trees were cut in the process of now halted expansion.
Deputy Commissioner Islamabad Hamza Shafqat tweeted that the premises of Monal restaurant has been sealed, and related departments are looking into the matter.
The Climate Change Ministry media focal person, Muhammad Saleem said that the deforestation was done on the behest of the restaurant management to expand its constructed area.
“Taking serious notice of the illegal construction activities and tree cutting, the advisor Malik Amin Aslam on Tuesday directed the Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency Islamabad (Pak-EPA Islamabad) to take legal action against the culprits,” Saleem said.
Advisor to the Prime Minister for Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam tweeted that the felled trees at the Margalla Hills National Park, where the restaurant is located, will be reforested. He also said that an FIR has been launched, and those responsible will be held accountable.
Concerns about the tree cutting were raised on social media by the citizens of Islamabad who posted pictures of bear areas around the restaurant. The authorities went to the site to inspect the actual situation and found that it was indeed the case, which lead to arrests as well as further action against the restaurant establishment.
Monal Restaurant was constructed at the Margalla Hills National Park in 2005 after getting approval from CDA. Some other restaurants are also present in the area. The national park falls under the jurisdiction of the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) and extends into parts of KPK and Punjab as well.