Supreme Court orders eateries to leave Margalla Hills National Park within 3 months

The Supreme Court, on June 10, ordered to relocate restaurants from the National Park Area within three months, including the popular Monal restaurant located on top of Margalla Hills.

The three-judge bench, led by Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa, reviewed an appeal against the Islamabad High Court’s January 2022 judgment concerning the sealing and possession of Monal Restaurant.

The Supreme Court, however, rejected the appeal against the Islamabad High Court order, which directed the CDA and the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) to seal the Monal premises, allowing the owner/management to remove their property. The high court also ruled that Monal’s lease agreement with the CDA had expired and its September 30, 2019, deal with the Remount, Veterinary, and Farms Directorate was invalid and held no legal standing.

Facilitate Monal in relocation, SC directs CDA

The Supreme Court instructed the CDA to assist the Monal Group of Companies in relocating the restaurant to a permissible location within three months on priority. Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa emphasized that the primary concern of the court was the preservation of the national park. The order also mandated that all other restaurants on Pir Sohawa Road be relocated in the same manner.

Monal’s accumulated rent will go to IWMB

Regarding the rent that Monal restaurant had been paying to a local civil court monthly for the past three to four years due to the dispute with the CDA, the Supreme Court ordered these funds to be transferred to the IWMB, represented by Advocate Umer Ijaz Gillani, to support wildlife preservation efforts.

Relocation sends wrong message to investors, Monal CEO claims

Monal Group CEO Luqman Ali Afzal regretted the relocation would send a wrong message to the investors, but the CJP observed the court had to preserve the serenity of the national park area. He also volunteered for relocation within four months, versus supreme court’s directions of three months.
“Nowhere in the world are commercial activities, like running restaurants, allowed inside the national park area,” the court noted.

CDA claims Pak-China Center, National Monument also inside Park

CDA in its report claimed that buildings like the Pak-China Center, Sports Complex, Arts Council as well as the Pakistan National Monument inside the national park.

CJP Isa regretted the claim saying, “Should we order pulling down all these buildings,” adding if the Supreme Court building was also present inside the national park area. “The entire world knows how many restaurants are inside the national park area except the CDA,” he noted.

WWF-Pakistan lauds court order to close eateries within MHNP

WWF-Pakistan commended the court for its decision to close all eateries within the Margalla Hills National Park.

Commenting on the decision, Hammad Naqi Khan, Director General, WWF-Pakistan said that he deeply appreciated the honorable judges’ interest and support in the case, emphasizing the conservation of wildlife and natural resources in the park.

“This decision will benefit the long-term efforts and contributions towards nature conservation initiatives in Pakistan,” Naqi said.

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