ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday sought an explanation from the chairman of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) over the construction of a club near Rawal Lake.
The court issued the order while hearing a petition filed by a citizen against the construction of the Navy Club and denial of citizens’ access to the lake.
“The chairman, Capital Development Authority, shall, inter alia, explain in the report under what authority of law permission has been granted (for construction of the club) and general public denied access to a public place,” said the order issued by IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah.
The court also sought replies from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Chief of the Naval Staff on the matter.
“The director general, Environmental Protection Agency, is also directed to submit a report, explaining whether before starting the construction in an environmentally sensitive area the mandatory requirements were fulfilled under the Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency Act, 1997. If not, then what proceedings have been initiated?
Replies also sought from Environmental Protection Agency and Chief of Naval Staff
“The office is further directed to issue notice to respondent No. 3, i.e. Chief of Naval Staff for filing a written reply,” the order said.
The counsel for the petitioner Zainab Janjua has argued that Pakistan Navy has illegally constructed a building on the Rawal Lake that has denied access of the public to the water reservoir.
The petition says the “illegal occupation” of land, construction of a building thereon and denial of access to a public place is in violation of the Capital Development Authority Ordinance, 1960 and the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution.
The court directed its office to issue notices to the CDA chairman and secretary of the defence ministry, following which the former shall nominate an officer not lower in rank than a member, who would submit a detailed report to the court on the next date of hearing after inspecting the area in question.
The court also directed CDA to submit to the court “the approved building plans” along with the report.
The order said notice would also be issued to the attorney general of Pakistan because questions of public importance had been raised in the petition.
The court adjourned the hearing on the matter till July 23.
Published in Dawn, July 17th, 2020