ISLAMABAD-After finding complete silence from CDA and MCI over a land ownership claim by Pakistan Army at Margallah Hills, leaseholder of the Monal Restaurant started paying monthly rent to the Remount Veterinary & Farms Directorate GHQ Rawalpindi.

The leaseholder of Monal Restaurant paid Rs484008 via pay order number 06366856 as arrears of rental payment for September 2019, Rs1300000 via pay order number 06366858 as rental of November 2019 and Rs910000 via pay order number 06366902 as rental of December 2019 to the DG RV&F GHQ. All the drafts were issued from the Bank Al Habib G-9 Branch Islamabad.

The building in which the Monal Restaurant is operating was constructed by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and it was leased in 2006 to Mr. Luqman Ali Afzal, which is now an iconic eatery of the capital city.

The city managers while establishing this amenity by expending huge amount from public exchequer never thought that the subject land does not belong to Capital Development Authority as it was enjoying its sole ownership and absolute possession since 1961.

However, the table turned around in 2016, when Pakistan Army came forward with a claim that the said land was once allotted to Military Farms Rawalpindi in 1910 by then government of Punjab for the production of hay for army animals.

To settle over a century old claim of the ownership of 8603 acres military land in margalla hills, a meeting was held on 8th November 2016 under the chair of then Minister for Defence.

According to GHQ’s letters available with this scribe, it was decided in said meeting to revert back the subject land to the owner i.e. RV&F after a joint survey/demarcation by the Ministry of Defence and CDA.

Later, a survey was conducted by the Survey of Pakistan on the request of the RV&F directorate to demarcate the military grass land at Margallah Hills. The demarcation was started in February 2017 and it was completed in May 2017, in which a total of 8655.62 acres of land has been demarcated as military grass land.

In the light of said demarcation, the RV&F directorate conveyed the leaseholder of Monal Restaurant that his building came inside 8655.62 acres land and he was asked to provide lease documents in addition to the payment of arrears and monthly rents to RV&F directorate instead of Capital Development Authority.

The leaseholder of said famous restaurant wrote several letters to the Chairman CDA and Mayor of Islamabad, when he was directly approached by GHQ for submission of monthly rent and arrears.

He wrote letters to the Chairman CDA and Mayor of Islamabad on 8th July 2019 and 31st July 2019 to seek guidance on the claim made by GHQ but neither the office of Chairman CDA nor Mayor of Islamabad replied.

When he found that both the civic authorities are avoiding to respond him or taking the matter with VR&F Directorate properly, he started paying monthly rent to military’s formation.

CDA’s spokespersons Syed Safdar Shah while responding on the issue said that the collection of rent pertains with Directorate of Municipal Administration, MCI and his organisation has nothing to do with it.

He however assured that the issue related to the claim of military grass land would be settled according to rules and regulation.

On the other side, when contacted, the director DMA Zafer Iqbal told that he has conveyed restaurant’s management to resume payment of monthly rent to MCI as there is no decision of the change of land ownership from competent forum so far.

Source told this scribe that the Monal’s Management has paid some rent to MCI as well but with certain conditions.

Zafer Iqbal also confirmed that an amount is received from restaurant’s management but he avoided to share the exact details.