SC’s intervention revives residents’ hope for restoration of Capital’s green character

Islamabad turning into garbage dump

Zubair Qureshi

Residents of the federal capital have pinned their hopes in the Supreme Court of Pakistan for restoration of green belts and sites of Islamabad that are slowly and steadily occupied by land mafia and commercial enterprises. A visit to the city’s parks and playgrounds is sufficient to tell you how the Metropolitan Corporation of Islamabad (MCI) and the Capital Development Authority (CDA) have stopped taking interest in the city’s uplift.
F-9 Park or the Fatima Jinnah Park, the only park worth-mentioning in the Federal Capital is in bad shape. Once a well-kept and oft-visited place is now a picture of sheer neglect and disregard; its toilets are dysfunctional, grass is untrimmed, playgrounds are coloured with weeds and bushes and above all walking and jogging tracks are full of ditches. Likewise, the famous Trail-3 of the Federal Capital is losing its luster fast and the trees and greenery along the track is disappearing slowly and steadily.
Supreme Court too has recently expressed its dismay over massive deforestation in the Margalla Hills National Park (MHNP) and ordered the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to take action against the officers who are entrusted with the task to preserve the green area.
“I do not have the heart to see the loss of vegetation,” Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed had observed after watching a multimedia report highlighting deforestation on huge patches. Conducted between July 2016 and April 2017, the report was furnished before the court by Hammad Naqvi, the chief executive of World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Justice Saeed is heading a two-judge bench that had taken up a number of cases relating to the unchecked and unabated cutting of trees within the precincts of the MHPA. “The CDA is there to kill the city and working like termites,” Justice Qazi Faez Isa observed while expressing dismay over the chopping of trees to widen roads, especially the Embassy Road.
According to reports, Justice Isa regretted CDA’s apathy and said now the only job left for the CDA is to mislead the courts. “We are a nation for VIPs having land cruisers, Mercedes and BMW so that they might not get late even for a second but for the poor or for those who love to walk no pavement is being built.” According to the court all nullahs in the city had turned into garbage dumps. The court also ordered the CDA to submit a report on the chopping of trees on the Embassy Road. The report should highlight the cost of the project, to whom the contract was awarded, the objective of the project as well as the number of trees chopped. “What is the use of the earlier court order in which all kinds of quarrying, stone crushing and cutting of trees in the protected Margalla Hills had been stayed,” Justice Saeed asked, pointing towards Advocate Munir Paracha who was representing the CDA.
Welcoming the Supreme Court’s intervention, Hasan Zawar a resident of the Sector G-10/4 and a regular visitor of the Trail-3 demanded action against those responsible for deforestation.

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