ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday expressed its annoyance over tree felling in posh areas of the Capital and directed the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to take action against its officials – Director General Environment and Director General Estate – mindful of the act and submit a report within 24 hours.
It may be mentioned here that a large number of trees are being felled on Embassy Road by the civic agency to make way for the widening of the road. Earlier in mid-October, the civic agency had cut down a large number of trees along the Attaturk Avenue for widening the road to twice its number of lanes.
The apex court took notice of the situation after media highlighted the excessive cutting of trees in Attaturk Avenue where the civic agency is widening the road.
The two-member bench included Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Qazi Faez Isa, who heard a suo motu case over the excessive cutting of trees at Attaturk Avenue and constructions on Margalla Hills. They demanded that Islamabad administration submitted a report within 24 hours.
Earlier in mid-October, the civic agency had cut down a large number of trees along the Attaturk Avenue for widening the road to twice its number of lanes. Trees are often cut in the capital for the expansion of roads.
The bench also ordered CDA, Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) and Islamabad police to submit names of the responsible “officers” in their report and directed Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to initiate criminal cases against them. It further imposed a ban on the sale and purchase of land in Islamabad’s Zone-III.
During the hearing, Justice Qazi Faez Isa remarked, “There is no footpath for a pedestrian in the city, but the authority is worried about wealthy car owners.”.
Justice Azmat Saeed dubbed CDA as ‘capital destruction authority’ and observed that construction activities and tree cutting further augmented after the ban imposed by Supreme Court in 2016.
In expressing his annoyance further, Justice Saeed said that the authorities should feel ashamed. In a snide remark, he said, “CDA officers should be awarded pride of performance on March 23.” Officials of CDA should not believe that no action could be taken against them, he said.
He also accused CDA officials of eating “haram”, adding that the court would not spare violators of court orders.
“Where would law and court orders be implemented if they are not implemented in the federal capital,” asked Justice Isa, adding that clear court orders had been issued to stop the felling of trees.
A CDA council told the court that action was being taken against encroachments in Zone-III and Zone-IV, at which the judge said that the action should be indiscriminate against all encroachers even if they are judges of the court or generals in the army.