Army has no power, jurisdiction to engage in business ventures: IHC

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The Islamabad High Court on Wednesday issued a detailed judgment regarding the construction in Margalla Hills National Park and held that the Pakistan Army has no power nor jurisdiction to, directly or indirectly, engage in business ventures of any nature outside its composition nor to claim the ownership of state land.

The IHC, therefore, declared the construction of the Navy Golf Course illegal and instructed the Ministry of Defense to conduct an inquiry into the golf course, and directed the secretary of defence to administer a forensic audit to assess the damage to the national exchequer.

“Since the command and control of the Armed Forces vests in the Federal Government, therefore, no branch can undertake any activity or perform functions outside their respective establishments unless expressly directed or called upon to do so.

The unique responsibilities have been prescribed under the Constitution and, therefore, obedience to the provisions ibid and law is an inviolable obligation of every branch and member of the Armed Forces as provided under Article 5,” the detailed judgment read.

The court also rejected the ownership claim of the Pakistan Army Directorate on 8,068 acres of land in the National Park.

In the detailed judgment issued by IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah, the lease agreement of the Farms Directorate of the Pakistan Army with Monal Restaurant was also declared illegal.

The report of the Islamabad Environmental Commission was also included in the 108-page detailed decision. The court said the state and government officials had a duty to protect the Margalla Hills.

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