ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Islamabad High Court (IHC) Justice Athar Minallah on Friday issued a show-cause notice to the Municipal Corporation of Islamabad (MCI) for not handing over the management control of Marghazar Zoo to the Ministry of Climate Change.

During a hearing on June 25, the IHC had directed the secretary Ministry of Climate Change to take control of the zoo. The court had issued the direction on a petition filed by the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) against lack of facilities in the zoo.

On Friday, Advocate Owais Awan, the petitioner’s counsel, informed the court that MCI officials did not implement the court orders and “had deliberately locked their offices and refused to hand over the management to the Ministry of Climate Change.”

He further stated that for the last three weeks animals in the zoo had been suffering while the condition of an injured brown bear had become critical.

The court issued the show-cause notice to the officials of the MCI and directed them to file a written reply “explaining as to why proceedings may not be initiated against them under the Contempt of Court Ordinance 2003.”

The court also sought a report from the secretary climate change “as to why there was a delay in complying with this court order.” The court added: “The secretary climate change is further directed to nominate an authorised officer to appear before this court on the date fixed.”

Justice Minallah also summoned the deputy commissioner Islamabad and sought his explanation “as to why the administration of Islamabad Capital Territory did not take appropriate action in order to implement the direction of the court.”

Further hearing of the case was adjourned to Aug 29.

Earlier on June 25, the IWMB had drawn attention of the court toward a report of the World Wildlife Federation-Pakistan and stated that a marsh crocodile had been kept in a deplorable condition in the zoo and as per experts it may not survive in the zoo if the condition of the facility was not improved.

M. Bilal, deputy director Marghzar Zoo, appeared before the court and stated that because of lack of funds the zoo management was unable to take proper care of the crocodile.

Published in Dawn, August 17th, 2019