Wednesday May 18, 2022

IHC orders Monal restaurant sealed off, Navy’s golf course handed over to CDA

"The laws are equally applicable on all the armed forces," says IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah

By Web Desk
January 11, 2022
The Islamabad authorities have sealed Monal Restaurant in compliance with the orders of IHC. Photo: Twitter
The Islamabad authorities have sealed Monal Restaurant in compliance with the orders of IHC. Photo: Twitter 

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday ordered Monal restaurant sealed off and for the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to take control of the navy's golf course, Margalla Greens Golf Club, by close of business.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah issued the orders while hearing a case related to encroachments on the land of Margalla Hills National Park.

Secretaries for the ministries of defence and interior, the chairman of the CDA, and the additional attorney general (AAG) were present during the hearing.

During proceedings, Justice Minallah said the national park land belongs to the state and no commercial activities can be carried out here. "No one can even cut the grass on the land."

Justice Minallah, addressing the government officials, said that "lawlessness" had taken root and that the events taking place in Islamabad were "shocking".

"Lawlessness is prevailing in Islamabad. The court continuously gives decisions and informs [officials]," Justice Minallah remarked.

He ordered the CDA to take over the Margalla Greens Golf Club and directed Chief commissioner Islamabad Amer Ali Ahmad to seal Monal Restaurant.

‘Encroachment will not portray a good image of armed forces’

The court asked the secretary of defence to ensure that the navy golf course is handed over to the CDA and asked the government official to take action against those responsible for encroaching the land.

"You had already admitted that the golf course was illegal," he told the secretary of defence.

The court said that all the armed forces — army, navy, and airforce — come under the Ministry of Defence and they were not autonomous.

"Pakistan Navy encroached [upon the national park's land]. This is inappropriate. This will not portray a good image of the armed forces," the court noted.

"The armed forces should not be controversial, it is not in the public's interest," it further observed.

Justice Minallah said the court wants the people to look up to the armed forces. "The laws are equally applicable on all the armed forces."

"Did the navy seek permission from the CDA for construction? It (navy) might have security reservations," he said, adding that relevant authorities should hear out the security concerns listed down by the secretary of defence.

IHC declares military's 8,000-acre claim on park land illegal

The court declared the military's 8,000-acre claim on the national park's land illegal and asked the AAG on what grounds the land was allotted to the military.

The court said the land should be given back to the state. "Only the elite benefit when there is lawlessness."