No construction, felling of trees will be tolerated in national park: adviser

Updated May 23, 2020

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Management of Monal were felling trees for expansion and construction on the front side of the restaurant. 1 AFP/File
Management of Monal were felling trees for expansion and construction on the front side of the restaurant. 1 AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Advisor to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam has said that no construction activity or tree cutting would be tolerated in the Margalla Hills National Park (MHNP).

Speaking to the press during his visit to Monal Restaurant to assess the damaged allegedly caused by the restaurant’s management in the protected park area, Mr Aslam said: “No one is allowed to play havoc with the Margalla Hills National Park in any form and degrade it for greedy purposes.”

He said that the management of the restaurant were felling trees for expansion and construction purposes on the front side of the restaurant. He said that these nonconforming activities carried out in a clandestine fashion has led to significant land degradation, which will take a long time to rehabilitate.

Mr Aslam said that photographs of felled trees and land levelling near Monal circulated on social media and elicited a public outcry.

“We took serious notice of the photos and moved to verify those images. After the gruesome environmental degradation caused due to the tree cutting and land levelling activities by the restaurant’s management, the Environmental Protection Agency took legal action against the criminal activity,” he said.

He added that these images were shared with the chief commissioner and the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration. The administration and the Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) carried out a raid on May 18 in which two people were arrested and an FIR was also lodged with the Kohsar police.

Published in Dawn, May 23rd, 2020