Islamabad - Federal Minister for Capital Administration and Development Division Tariq Fazal Chaudhary on Wednesday sought one week time from the apex court to prepare plan for removal of encroachments from Margalla National Park.

A two-judge bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijazul Ahsan heard a suo moto notice regarding cutting of trees and encroachments in Margalla National Park and Zone-III in Islamabad.

Munir Paracha Advocate represented Capital Development Authority (CDA). He informed the court about the efforts being made to comply with the court’s order.

Justice Azmat observed that their order had not been complied with, adding that apparently the CDA officials were taking money from the encroachers and were therefore hesitant to launch operation against them.

The counsel contended that when the CDA would bring the injured persons, then the court would accept their version.

Justice Azmat remarked that they would initiate contempt of court proceeding against the responsible CDA officers.

He questioned whether there was government in the federal capital or not. He remarked that the CDA was here but there was no police and the revenue authority.

“We are asking about implementation of the court order. Would we have to sign another agreement for the purpose”, the judge questioned, referring to the agreement signed between the government and the activists of TLYR for ending the 22-day long sit-in at Faizabad Interchange.

Justice Azmat further remarked that there were encroachments within the precinct of Margalla Park. He inquired as to why the CDA had failed to remove the said encroachments. Justice Ijaz remarked that when there are anti-encroachment laws, then why the CDA officials were not implementing the same.

Munir Piracha contended that during the last two weeks , the police were not available due to the sit-in at Faizabad, therefore; operation could not be launched against the encroachers. Justice Ijaz questioned that what did the police do where they were present, referring to the Faizabad sit-in.

The counsel said that the CDA officials faced strong resistance from illegal occupants and without the police, it was impossible to carry out operation against them. Justice Azmat remarked that at the end, the CDA would say that they also need army’s help for the purpose.

Justice Azmat enquired whether the CDA knew owners of plazas erected in Margallah National Park. He remarked that whether Pakistani law was not applicable to them.

The lawyer said that it would take some time to remove the past mistakes. Justice Azmat said that if the CDA officials were not able to remove the encroachments, then they better go home.

Federal Minister for CADD Tariq Fazal Chaudhry, who was present in the court, pleaded that they were taking steps to improve the standard of one million rural population of the federal capital.

Justice Azmat told the minister that the court had not summoned him as the court respected even the counsellor. He said that if the officials were unable to perform their duties, then they should resign, adding, “The day I would think that I can’t work, I will resign.”

Justice Azmat asked that was it judges’ job to remove encroachments from Margalla Hills. He said that if there would be mistakes, then people would raise fingers at you (politicians) as you go to the people for vote. He said that the charge was given to politicians as the bureaucrats have no direct contact with the people.

The minister sought one week time to make plan for removing the encroachments. The case was adjourned until December 7