Forest directorate seeks clarification over military grassland issue

ISLAMABAD-An uncertainty is quite evident among different formations of CDA and MCI because of the complete silence of their top bosses over an ownership dispute of 8603 acres of land at Margalla Hills National Park.
The Remount Veterinary and Farms Directorate of GHQ Rawalpindi is claimant for the ownership of 8603 acres of land at Margalla Hills National Park including Monal Restaurant, however, the civic bodies have yet to take a categorical stance upon it.
In a fresh development, while following the footprints of the leaseholder of Monal Restaurant, the forest directorate of MCI also requested from Directorate of Land and Rehabilitation, Estate Management Directorate-II and Regional Planning Directorate to clarify whether the exchange of aforementioned land has been taken place or not.
The controversy about said land upon which the capital’s iconic Monal Restaurant is located was underway from last several months.
However, both the Chairman CDA Amir Ali Ahmed and Mayor Islamabad Shaikh Anser Aziz are reluctant to take a clear stance on the issue.
Resultantly, different formations of CDA, MCI and the leaseholder of Monal Restaurant are striving for a clarification from top bosses on the issue, which is yet to be announced besides passing three months.
When contacted, Mayor of Islamabad Shaikh Anser Aziz and Chairman CDA Amir Ali Ahmed avoided responding on the issue however the spokesperson of CDA Syed Safdar Ali said that the in house deliberations on the issue are underway and it would be settled according to the law.
According to details, the Pakistan Army came forward in 2016 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 November 8, 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 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 Monal 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.
Anti-encroachment drive
The Capital Development Authority (CDA) is conducting operations against encroachments and illegal constructions all over the city.
The Enforcement Directorate of the authority with the assistance of Islamabad Administration and Islamabad Police and other concerned formation carried out several anti-encroachment operations and removed encroachments and construction from different areas of the city.
The Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday, conducting operation on service road from Zia Masjid to Khana Pul removed several encroachments and confiscated encroachment material from the vicinity while construction on seven illegal structures in Ghouri Town was also stopped.
During another action taken in Sector I-8, a Chapper Hotel established illegally on an auctioned plot, illegally constructed room on plot No.01 of I-8 Markaz, 01 chapper hotel established illegally on plot Blue Area and building material depot established illegally in the parking of school No.02 were also removed.
In another operation, teams of Enforcement Directorate demolished six chapper hotels in sector I-11 Mandi Morr area while one illegally established mechanic shop in front of sabzi mandi gate was also dismantled.
Similarly, during another action, teams of Enforcement Directorate demolished 15 jhuggies in sector G-10/2 while encroachments comprising seven rooms, fences, four boundary walls, seven bird sheds, one kiosk, two sheds and one canopy constructed illegally on a plot reserved for park in sector G-11/2 were demolished. Furthermore, during another operation a tea stall and a boundary wall constructed illegally near Aabpara Petrol pump while another illegally established tea stall on Embassy Road and a kiosk in Barri Imam areas were also demolished.

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