IHC declares Navy golf course at Margalla Hills illegal

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday declared the construction of the Navy Golf Course at Margalla Hills illegal.
Following its detailed judgment on construction in Margalla Hills National Park, the court said that “the military has no power or jurisdiction to, directly or indirectly, engage in commercial enterprises of any kind. either outside its composition or claim ownership of state land”.
Express Tribune reported that “the court instructed the Department of Defense to conduct an investigation into the golf course and ordered the Secretary of Defense to administer a forensic audit to assess damage to the public purse.”
“Because command and control of the Armed Forces rests with the Federal Government, no branch may undertake any activity or perform any function outside of its respective establishments unless specifically invited or invited to do so. The unique responsibilities have been mandated by the Constitution and, therefore, compliance with ibid provisions and the law is an inviolable obligation of every branch and member of the armed forces, as provided for in Article 5,” according to the detailed judgment.
He also rejected the Pakistan Army leadership’s claim to ownership of 8,068 acres of land in the national park.
The 108-page ruling by IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah also declared the Pakistan Army Farms Directorate’s lease agreement with the Monal restaurant illegal.

Read more: Supreme Court overturns IHC verdict on Monal

It also included a report from the Islamabad Environmental Commission.
He said “state and government officials have a duty to protect the Margalla Hills”.
“It is the responsibility of the state to take action against those who violate the basic rights of the people, however, it is ironic that state institutions are also implicated in the desecration of the Margalla Hills Protected Area “, said IHC.
The court held that the Pakistan Navy and Pakistan Army violated the law by taking it into their own hands, adding that this was an ideal case of weakening the rule of law.
According to the IHC, the state must take steps to repair the damage done to the Margalla Hills to prevent further destruction.
Earlier on January 11, 2022, the court issued a short order declaring the allocation of 8,068 acres of land to the Pakistani army in the area of ​​Islamabad National Park against law.
“The claim of the management of Remount, Veterinary and Farms of the Pakistan Army, for 8,068 acres of land within the notified national park area is in breach of the 1979 ordinance read together with the 1960 ordinance and plan director”, a judgment written by Athar said Minallah.

Read more: First time in Pakistan: Court orders closure of military golf course

“The claim also does not comply with the applicable laws applicable to the management of land for the use of the armed forces. The federal government had no jurisdiction to allow the management to use 8,068 acres of land within the notified national park area,” he said.

Denise W. Whigham