ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Islamabad High Court (IHC) Athar Minallah on Tuesday rejected the unconditional apology of the director and the deputy director of the Municipal Corporation of Islamabad (MCI) for not handing over management control of Marghazar Zoo to the Ministry of Climate Change.

The court directed them to submit affidavit in response to contempt petition within fortnight, explaining as to why they did not implement the court’s order.

Last month, IHC had issued a show-cause notice to the MCI for not handing over the management control of Marghazar Zoo to the Ministry of Climate Change despite the direction of the court.

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.

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.

On Tuesday, MCI Director Rana Tahir and Deputy Director Bilal Khilji appeared before the IHC and submitted unconditional apology. They requested the court to withdraw the contempt notice.

Justice Minallah remarked that both the officials have prima facie committed the contempt of court. The court rejected the apology and directed them to submit written affidavit as explaining as to why they did not implement the court’s order.

Further hearing in this matter has been adjourned till fortnight.

Published in Dawn, September 18th, 2019