The Islamabad High Court (IHC) released a thorough ruling on the building in Margalla Hills National Park on Wednesday, declaring the Navy Golf Course unconstitutional. Following its decision, the Supreme Court authorized the Ministry of Defense to investigate the golf course and the Secretary of Defense to perform a forensic audit to determine the cost to the national exchequer. The court also rejected the Pakistan Army Directorate’s claim to ownership of 8,068 acres of land in the National Park.
The lease arrangement between the Pakistan Army’s Farms Directorate and Monal Restaurant was also found invalid in a detailed ruling issued by IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah. The 108-page full ruling also includes the report of the Islamabad Environmental Commission. The court ruled that state and federal officials had a responsibility to protect the Margalla Hills.
“It is the role of the state to take action against those who violate the fundamental rights of the people,” the IHC stated. “However, it is paradoxical that governmental institutions are also complicit in desecration of the Margalla Hills protected area.” The court went on to say that the Pakistan Navy and Army had broken the law by taking it into their own hands, which was a textbook example of eroding the rule of law.
According to the IHC, the state has a responsibility to remediate the damage to the Margalla Hills in order to prevent further harm. The court had previously issued a brief decision on January 11, 2022, declaring that the allotment of 8,068 acres of property to the Pakistan Army in Islamabad’s National Park region was illegal.
IHC wrote in an 11-page decision, “The claim of the Pakistan Army’s Remount, Veterinary and Farms Directorate about 8,068 acres of land in the notified National Park area is in contravention of the Ordinance of 1979 read with the Ordinance of 1960 and the Master Plan”.