ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday amended its earlier order of allowing the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to remove from inside F-9 (Fatima Jinnah) Park only paper mulberry trees - a plant species which triggers allergies every spring. The court said the allergen plant should be cut only in the presence of CDA staff.

Headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa, a three-judge bench also ordered that except for the paper mulberry no other species should be chopped off in the park. The court sought names of experts from the parties involved in the case.

The Supreme Court had taken up a notice under Article 184(3) of the Constitution on a suo motu after its registrar put up a note before the three-judge committee constituted under section 2 of the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023 to consider whether proceedings may be commenced under Article 184(3) since reportedly a larger number of trees had been cut and there was a systematic deforestation taking place in Fatima F-9 Park.

Besides, citizens were complaining that the trees were being cut on the directions of CDA and that the Supreme Court should intervene to prevent the valuable resource of the citizens from being destroyed.

At the last hearing on Tuesday, the court had appointed joint commissioners, consisting of President Mian Aqeel Afzal and General Secretary Press Association of Supreme Court (PAS) Imran Waseem, under Order XXXII of the Supreme Court Rules 1980 to visit the park and take photographs/record videos showing the area where trees had been cut and area deforested.

Subsequently, the commissioners furnished a report, stating that the CDA was claiming plantation of more than the double number of trees which had been cut off and according to the authority some 7,000 trees had been removed from 52 acres inside the park though 15,000 planted.

“It is a fact that most of area has been covered by planning saplings of different plant species in the recent days,” the commissioners’ report said though it also recommended that the number of plants should be increased in the area, adding a CDA dump office inside the park should be removed since it posed an environment hazard.

It suggested to the apex court to consider adding more members to the commission for enhancing its monitoring performance. It also stated that a stream inside the park had been contaminated due to sewage and dumping. The commissioners suggested strict monitoring by the CDA to clean the stream that will enhance the beauty of the park.

Moreover, the report suggested ordering shifting of a private flying club covering a vast area inside the park. The report said when the commissioners visited the park CDA officials briefed them about cutting of only paper mulberry trees since it was responsible for health issues like trigging pollen allergy.

The officials said the total area of green cover was around 108 acres and until Feb 27 the authority had removed trees from 52 acres.

“We have no reason to doubt their statement regarding the area. It is quite obvious that there are different types of trees in the forest area inside the park. It is a fact that majority of the trees inside the park were paper mulberry,” said the report.

Published in Dawn, March 5th, 2024

Opinion

Editorial

Not without reform
Updated 22 Apr, 2024

Not without reform

The problem with us is that our ruling elite is still trying to find a way around the tough reforms that will hit their privileges.
Raisi’s visit
22 Apr, 2024

Raisi’s visit

IRANIAN President Ebrahim Raisi, who begins his three-day trip to Pakistan today, will be visiting the country ...
Janus-faced
22 Apr, 2024

Janus-faced

THE US has done it again. While officially insisting it is committed to a peaceful resolution to the...
Elections in India
Updated 21 Apr, 2024

Elections in India

Independent accounts and spot reports are at variance with Modi-friendly TV anchors and they do not see an easy victory for the Indian premier.
IHC letter
21 Apr, 2024

IHC letter

THIS is a historic opportunity for the judiciary to define its institutional boundaries. It must not be squandered....
Olympic preparations
21 Apr, 2024

Olympic preparations

THIS past week marked the beginning of the 100-day countdown to the Paris Olympics, with the symbolic torch-lighting...