ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday told the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration to develop a waste management plan and identify encroachments in the catchment areas of the Rawal Dam that were polluting the waters of Rawal Lake.

Headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, a three-judge Supreme Court bench also forbade any further tree-felling in areas that were designated as botanical gardens or national parks, including the stretch of land along Korang Road, which leads to PTI chief Imran Khan’s sprawling residence in Banigala.

The apex court also ordered public utilities not to provide electricity and gas connections to properties that were not sanctioned by the relevant authorities.

The court had taken suo motu notice on a letter, written by Imran Khan, complaining about the unchecked and unplanned construction in Banigala, widespread denuding due to largescale deforestation and the pollution of the Rawal Lake with sewage.

Suo motu action against encroachments in Banigala taken on Imran Khan’s complaint

Mr Khan, who personally appeared before the Supreme Court, regretted that in the 15 years he had lived in Banigala, the botanical garden along Korang Road side had been reduced to half its size due to unchecked encroachment and the construction of multi-storey commercial plazas.

During Monday’s proceedings, Islamabad Advocate General (AG) Mian Rauf told the court in a report that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had issued funds for the demarcation and construction of a wall around the botanical garden, spread over 725 acres, on March 7.

Mian Rauf also informed the court that the relevant department had also been told to end encroachment in the areas of Moza Utal, Malot, Phulgran and Banigala.

The court directed the Islamabad AG to purchase any private property or land if it comes within the premises of the botanical garden.

In his complaint, Mr Khan had requested the Supreme Court to take notice of the mushroom growth of unregulated and unplanned commercial plazas in picturesque Banigala.

Unless this trend is halted, the complaint regretted, it would spell disaster for the well-being of the future generations, especially since Pakistan was one of the worst victims of global warning.

In his letter, the PTI chief stated that he had personally spoken to the relevant people in CDA over the years, drawing their attention to the continuous transgressions of the law in Banigala, but to no avail.

“I am compelled to draw your attention to two critical violations of the law, which has long term degenerative effects on our environment and health and welfare of our future generations,” the complaint regretted, requesting the court to compel CDA to act against encroachers, land mafias and anarchic builders who were turning Banigala into a concrete jungle.

“Unplanned and unregulated plazas were cropping up across Banigala with no sewerage and waste disposal systems in place or being planned,” Mr Khan wrote, adding that if left unchecked, all the refuse from these buildings would find its way into Rawal Lake, which stores drinking water for the inhabitants of Rawalpindi.

But the CDA chose to ignore all these violations, he claimed.

Talking to mediapersons outside the courtroom, Mr Khan brushed aside the impression that he had built his Banigala farmhouse without permission, saying that due authorization had been sought from the concerned government departments.

The case will again be taken up on May 10.

Published in Dawn, April 25th, 2017