Mayor of Islamabad, CADD Secretary, others summoned before court on 7th

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CJ takes notice of fire on Margalla Hills, water shortage in Capital

Zubair Qureshi

After a number of stories published in national dailies of the country including Pakistan Observer with regard to repeated incidents of fire erupted on Margalla Hills in recent days, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar has taken suo motu of the matter and summoned the officials responsible to appear before the court on Thursday, June 7, 2018. Chief Justice of Pakistan has also taken suo motu into the serious problem of shortage in water supply to the residents of Islamabad as well as the rest of the country.
A statement issued by Supreme Court on Monday, says “The Hon’ble Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar has taken notice of the incidents of fire at Margalla Hills posing serious threats to the forest, wildlife and environment in general.” The apex court has issued notices to Attorney General for Pakistan, Secretary Environment, Secretary CADD, Mayor, Metropolitan Corporation, Islamabad, Chief Commissioner, Islamabad and Chairman CDA and has fix the matter in court for 7th June, 2018, the statement further says.
It may be mentioned here that citizens of Islamabad and the civil society have been protesting against this vicious cycle of fire on Margallas that occurs every year causing irreparable damage to fauna and flora of Islamabad and bringing disaster to some rare species of trees.
Civil society of Islamabad and environmentalists have been crying foul and stressing the point that fire erupted on Margalla Hills was not intentional, it was lit on purpose by the mafia and the residents of the surrounding villages so that the government could be brought to its knees and induct fire guards it appoints every year.
This year, however Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) which is now the custodian of the Margalla Hills National Park (MHNP), spread over 17,605 hectares, had decided in principle not to hire any external staff and utilize services of its own staff in case some emergent situation arises.
According to IWMB senior officials, the local mafia in CDA didn’t accept the Board’s decision and in order to get their men inducted as fire guards for hot season set the hills on fire. At least 10 fires have been reported this year and four in May alone, she said. Since May 23, 2018, IWMB’s 22 guards have been continuously engaged in extinguishing fire since then and suffered injuries as well, said the official.
Besides fire on Margalla Hills, the Chief Justice of Pakistan has also taken suo motu into the erroneous and shortage in water supply to the residents of Islamabad as well as the rest of the country. The court has fixed the matter with regard to referred problem at Islamabad and subsequently at respective Branch Registries with regard to such water shortage at Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta, says a statement issued by the hon’ble apex court. “The matter regarding scarcity of water supply in Islamabad has been fixed in Court on 7th June, 2018,” it further says.

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