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Supreme Court orders closure of all restaurants in national parks including Monal

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan has ordered the closure of all restaurants operating within national parks, including Monal restaurant, situated in the scenic Margalla Hills National Park.

A three-judge bench, led by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa, heard an appeal against a January 11, 2022, Islamabad High Court decision that had favored the Monal group.

During the hearing, Chief Justice Isa questioned the competence of Capital Development Authority (CDA) officials, demanding a comprehensive list of all restaurants operating within the park.

He expressed concern over the CDA’s lack of awareness about the numerous restaurants and commercial activities within the protected area.

The CDA’s lawyer presented a report detailing all structures within the park, but the Chief Justice noted that the report included the Pakistan-China Sports Complex and the National Art Council, raising further questions about the CDA’s understanding of the park’s boundaries.

The court rejected the CDA’s report and summoned the Chairman of the CDA.

The Supreme Court ruled that all restaurants within the national park must be completely dismantled within three months. While the court acknowledged the need to relocate affected restaurants, it emphasized that commercial activities are not permitted within the park.

Earlier, in 2022, the Supreme Court of Pakistan issued an order to de-seal Monal Restaurant in Islamabad.

A three-member highest court panel led by Justice Ijazul Ahsan overruled the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) January 11 judgement which had instructed the authorities responsible to close the well-known eatery.

After challenging the high court’s decision, Monal Group argued that a decision by the IHC to force the authorities to take over the restaurant’s possession and seal the premises violated the petitioner’s basic rights.

In yesterday’s session, the Apex Court inquired as to how a restaurant could be shut down without a formal order being issued in the matter.

The Wildlife and Management Board had sealed the restaurant without handing over a copy of the IHC judgement, as the Supreme Court pointed out in its ruling. It said that it was unaware of the legal consequences of the IHC ruling, but it did not elaborate more.

This order was suspended because the IHC had never issued a written order to seal the Monal Restaurant, and because it had not been signed by an IHC official.

IHC ordered to close Islamabad’s Monal Restaurant, which is located in Margalla Hills National Park and deemed the military’s unlawful occupancy of 8,000 acres of park territory on January 11th, by the Islamabad High Court (IHC). As per IHC, the property within the national park is state-owned, no commercial activity is permitted there.

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I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Pavan Manzoor

    June 11, 2024 at 5:38 pm

    I’m saddened by the Supreme Court’s decision to close all restaurants in national parks.
    These establishments have been beloved spots for locals and tourists alike, providing unique dining experiences amidst nature. It’s unfortunate to see them go, and I hope there’s a way to balance environmental protection with supporting these businesses in the future.

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