SC annuls leases, orders relocation of all restaurants from Margalla Hills
ISLAMABAD: (Suno News) The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the relocation of all the restaurants including Monal Restaurant from the Magalla Hills National Park (MHNP) within the three-month period, declaring all the leases granted to the eateries null and void.

 Headed by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa, a three-member bench of the apex court heard the petitions filed by Monal Restaurant and the Wildlife Department.

On March 8, the Supreme Court ordered the de-sealing of the restaurant after suspending the Islamabad High Court (IHC) judgement. Later on March 11, the court had sought the complete record of the land ownership of the restaurant. The court had also directed the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to submit original records about the 8,600 acres of the MHPN land.

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When the additional attorney general had informed the court that the Military Estate Office claims the land as military-owned, the chief justice remarked that there was no military-owned land. The land belongs to the government of Pakistan, the judge observed. He asked whether the land was owned by the CDA or by someone else.

During Tuesday’s hearing, the apex court rejected the report submitted by the CDA and summoned its chairman on an immediate basis.

The CDA lawyer informed the court that that the CDA had provided a report which contained all the details of all constructions in Margalla Hills National Park.

The chief justice said that a sports club, Pak-China Friendship Centre and Arts Council National Monument were also included in the CDA report.

The chief justice asked whether the SC building also falls under the jurisdiction of the national park.

The counsel representing the CDA replied that he would have to look at the map to answer this question.

He questioned whether the CDA's office is also located in the national park.

Then the chief justice asked how many times the Margalla Hills had caught fire. The CDA chairman replied that 21 times this season.

On which the court directed all restaurants in the National Park including Monal to relocate within the three-month period.

The court remarked that the relocation aimed to ensure the protection of the National Park. Apart from National Park, the court terminated the unnecessary notices issued to all the other restaurants, saying that the court was only focusing on the National Park.

Besides, the court declared all the leases granted to restaurants located in National Park null and void.

Ordering that all the commercial activities in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's National Park should be stopped, the court remarked that it would issue the written order of the Monal restaurant case later.