ISLAMABAD-The future of capital’s iconic Monal Restaurant is uncertain as the district administration has once again sealed its premises along six other eateries at Margalla Hills National Park Area while following the directions of the Federal Government in this regard.

The Deputy Commissioner Islamabad Hamza Shafqat while responding to The Nation has confirmed that the Monal Restaurant has been sealed by the district administration along few other restaurants and huts including La Montana restaurant.

When questioned about federal government’s directions, he said that the action has been taken on the verbal directions of the Ministry of Climate Change and we are awaiting the written orders that are yet to be received by the administration.   

He, however, clarified that the Supreme Court of Pakistan has already issued directions to stop commercial activities in Margalla Hills National Park Area while the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad had also sealed the building over cutting of trees on adjacent area.

Meanwhile, the State Minister for Climate Change Zartaj Gul has categorically announced that the federal government has decided to shut down Monal Restaurant, the scenic eatery in the heart of the Margalla Hills National Park, as environmental laws proscribe construction and business activities in national parks. 

She further said that the government will not only oppose construction in national parks but will also demolish the existing infrastructure to restore their biodiversity.  

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.

However, the restaurant is in headlines since the Remount Veterinary & Farms Directorate GHQ Rawalpindi claimed the ownership of land upon which Monal is located and resultantly due to lack of pursuance and clarity from both the MCI and CDA, the owner started paying rent to GHQ.

On the other side, earlier in May 2020, acting on the Supreme Court’s directives, the district administration of Islamabad sealed off Monal Restaurant for encroaching forest lands and filed a case against it. The apex court had directed the authorities to stop all illegal constructions on Margalla Hills at that time but later the restaurant was allowed to start its operations.