Supreme Court

The Supreme Court ordered the closure of all restaurants and eateries, including the famous Monal Restaurant operating in Margalla Hills National Park.

On Tuesday, the highest court revoked the lease granted to and ordered the closure of all eateries present in Margalla Hills National Park (MHNP). Monal, a well-known restaurant that serves food in the park, promised the court that it will leave its famous site in three months.

A three-judge panel led by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa announced this ruling on Tuesday while debating the subject of unlawful encroachments within the MHNP. Monal Restaurant has petitioned the supreme court to overturn an Islamabad High Court (IHC) ruling that restaurants and lodging establishments were not allowed to encroach on park land.

During the case’s last hearing on March 8, the Supreme Court issued an order to open the restaurant while postponing the IHC’s decision. Additionally, the top court has requested documents pertaining to the 8,600 acres of the MHNP from the Capital Development Authority (CDA).

The head of the authority was called in by the highest court, who dismissed the CDA’s findings at Tuesday’s session. Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa said that the court had asked the CDA for information on Monal and other eateries that are part of the national park. A report with all the pertinent information on the construction going on in MHNP has been filed, the lawyer for CDA told the judge.

The chief judge further noted during the hearing that everyone is aware of the number of restaurants placed within the national park and inquired as to whether the CDA’s office was also situated within the park’s boundaries.

The chief justice inquired about the number of times the Margalla Hills had caught fire in reference to the recent spate of fires. The hills had burned down 21 times this year, the CDA chairman reported to the court. He also told the court that the park will have trees planted by the administration when the monsoon season arrives. The court noted throughout the hearing that it was only concentrating on protecting the national park and that this was its goal.

CJP Isa further expressed that all commercial activities taking place inside the national park within the territory of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa should also be halted.

The Supreme Court said it will issue a written order in the Monal restaurant case later. CJP Isa went on to say that all business ventures operating inside the national park on Khyber Pakhtunkhwa territory have to end as well. The Supreme Court announced that it will make a formal ruling in the Monal restaurant case at a later time.

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