Islamabad High Court Orders Demolition Of Illegal Navy Sailing Club In Rawal Lake Islamabad

 

Proclaiming the Pakistan Navy’s sailing club and farmhouses built on the public park land unlawful, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday requested their destruction and gave orders to start criminal procedings against the former naval Chief Zafar Mahmud Abbasi and other authorities for endorsing the illegal developments.

In a 45-page judgment, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah ordered the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to take over the naval farmhouses, saying that naval force had “trespassed the land on the embankment of Rawal Lake, and that too in a protected public park region”.

As the occupation of the land was illegal, the land should “no longer be regularized in any way for having been unlawfully built in an ecologically sensitive region, violating the compulsory provisions.”

The navy has been ordered to stop all its activities on Rawal Lake and hand over the land to the Small Dams Organization, while the court ordered the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board to restore the natural habitat in the lake’s surroundings.

The court additionally delegated environmental law expert Dr Pervaiz Hassan as a one-person Implementation Commission to give impact to the Environment Commission’s suggestions in regards to Rawal Lake and to examine the environmental damage caused.

In its verdict, the court noted that “the engagement of the armed forces in an activity which is a transgression from the constitutional mandate e.g. undertaking commercial or real estate ventures etc. is definitely not in the public interest. Its coercive power, strength and discipline can only be used for the restricted functions prescribed under the Constitution rather than using these characteristics to enforce its will on the people that created it.”

“Engaging in such undertakings, on the one hand, compromises the professionalism, integrity, cohesion of the Armed Forces while on the other it weakens the civilian institutions and becomes a cause for distraction from the core function. It damages the relationship of the Armed Forces with the people and the society,” the verdict noted.

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