ISLAMABAD              -         The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Thursday issued notices to Chairman Capital Development Authority (CDA) and Secretary Defence in a petition challenging the construction of a building on the Rawal Lake and denying access to the general public.

A single bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice Athar Minallah conducted hearing of the petition filed by Mrs Zeenat Salim and also issued notices to Attorney General of Pakistan.

The court noted in its order, “The office is further directed to issue notice to respondent no.3 i.e. Chief of Naval Staff for filing a written reply.” It added,

“Notice is also directed to be issued to the learned Attorney General of Pakistan because questions of public importance have been raised in the instant petition.”

The petitioner Zeenat filed the petition through her counsel Ms Zainab Janjua and contended that Pakistan Navy has illegally constructed a building on the Rawal Lake and has denied access to the general public.

She asserted in the petition that the illegal occupation of land, construction of a building thereon and denial of access to a public place is in violation of the Capital Development Authority Ordinance, 1960 and the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution.

After hearing the arguments, the IHC bench directed the office to issue notices to the Chairman, CDA and Secretary, Ministry of Defense. It ordered,

“The Chairman Capital Development Authority shall nominate an officer, not lower in rank than a Member. The latter after inspecting the area shall submit a detailed report on the next date fixed.”

The court further directed, “The approved building plans shall also be submitted along with the report. The Chairman, Capital Development Authority shall, inter alia, explain in the report under what authority of law permission has been granted and general public denied access to a public place.”

The IHC Chief Justice also directed the Director General, Environmental Protection Agency to submit a report explaining whether before starting the construction in an environmentally sensitive area, the mandatory requirements were fulfilled under the Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency Act, 1997.

He added, “If not, then what proceedings have been initiated?

Later, the court deferred hearing in this matter till July 23 for further proceedings.