IHC seeks compliance report on ‘illegal’ naval buildings

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday asked the Cabinet Division Secretary for a compliance report on its decision against illegal constructions by the Pakistani Navy and in case of non-compliance, asked him to appear in person.

An IHC division bench of Justice Amer Farooq and Justice Miyangul Hasan Aurangzeb was hearing an appeal filed by retired Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, former Navy Chief. count Passed by IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah.

Justice Minallah ordered the demolition of the Navy Sailing Club on the banks of the Rawal Lake within three weeks. The ruling declared the Naval Farm House on Simli Dam Road ‘illegal’ and directed the initiation of criminal proceedings against the former Navy Chief and other officers who authorized the illegal construction.

Former Navy Chief’s lawyer claims he never violated oath of office, seeks relief from criminal proceedings

The court also ordered the secretary of the cabinet division to place the decision before the prime minister and the federal cabinet so that they can take measures to restore the rule of law in the federal capital.

Admiral Abbasi’s counsel Ashtar Ausaf argued that the single-member bench had fixed the responsibility on the former Navy chief without examining the available records.

He was seeking interim relief from the court against the directions seeking criminal proceedings against his client, but the court told him not to worry.

When the bench asked Additional Attorney General Qasim Wadood about the status of the case and whether the decision had been placed before the federal cabinet, Mr Wadood expressed his ignorance of the matter.

Justice Aurangzeb then ordered him to obtain a compliance report from the cabinet secretary and said that if the order is not acted upon, the secretary should be called to appear in person on Wednesday, when the court will take up the matter again. Will pick up from

During the hearing, Ashtar Ausaf argued that Admiral Abbasi never violated his oath and was not involved in encroaching upon state lands.

In his order, Justice Minallah declared that “the Pakistani Navy had trespassed on land situated on the embankment of Lake Rawal and that too in a protected national park area. Occupation of land without valid authority and jurisdiction was illegal.”

He ruled that “Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi … violated his oath and violated his constitutional duty by inaugurating an illegal building on encroached land in contravention of the 1997 Act and the 1960 Ordinance …” and Federal Instructed the government to proceed against the former Navy. President.

Advocate Ausaf pointed out that the Sailing Club was formed in 1994 and was built on the land allotted to the Navy by the then Prime Minister.

When Justice Aurangzeb cited the environmental advisor’s report and termed it as “damaging” to the ecosystem and the Rawal Lake, Advocate Ausaf argued that a report prepared in 2015 on the contamination of the Rawal Lake against the sailing club No adverse finding was involved. ,

According to him, the bench “ignored” the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report on Sailing Club, which had recommended setting up of a sewerage treatment plant.

Published in Dawn, January 18, 2022