Islamabad - Hearing the case of illegal cutting of trees and stone crushing at Margalla Hills, the apex court yesterday observed that there is complete failure in almost all government sectors.

Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, heading a three-judge bench, said although it is not the job of apex court to interfere into administrative affairs, yet the court has to take suo moto when such actions go unnoticed. He said the top court took notice when trees were being cut illegally and quarrying of Margalla Hills was under way but the government has taken no action against the responsible persons.

The chief justice asked Attorney General for Pakistan Aushtar Ausaf, who was defending the government, “Leave aside profession and we all should also think what we will be inheriting to our next generation.”

Justice Amir Hani Muslim, another member of the bench, questioned who had permitted construction of buildings on Margalla Hills National Park.

The judge said if the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration cannot take action against them then they would direct the sessions judges of the respective areas to stop these illegal activities.

The chief justice inquired from the additional advocate general KPK why the existing plants have been removed. He said despite the fact that the lease agreements of a few miners expired 5 to 6 years ago, they were still allowed to do mining.

He said action should be taken against those officers who had allowed the mining after the expiry of lease agreements. “Why the decision was not taken and what had prevented the officers from taking decision?” he asked, adding it was done to mint money. The chief justice said the KP government had not taken action therefore they would proceed against them.

The AAG informed that in order to remove the loopholes, the KP government has decided to enact new laws.

Barrister Zafar, who was representing some miners, submitted that the cutting of trees and mining of any kind, including stone crushing, is strictly prohibited without any exception in the National Park and Marghalla Hills as laid down in the CDA notification 27th April, 1980.

He said this prohibition was later on confirmed by the Supreme Court in its judgement dated 25/10/2013 and it was directed that all stone crushing in the National Park is prohibited. Zafar also said it is in the national interest and the fundamental right of the people of Pakistan to ensure that no violation of this law takes place in the National Park.

However, he told the court that his clients’ case is entirely different and they are not carrying out any stone crushing activity in the National Park at all but the police authorities, without verifying whether the petitioner is carrying on its activities in the National Park or outside it, have stopped the stone crushers from crushing the stones as well.

The bench issuing notices to the secretaries of mines and minerals of KP and Punjab adjourned the hearing till 29th June.