Islamabad: A top court in Pakistan on Friday declared a sailing club run by the Pakistan Navy as ”illegal” and ordered the authorities to demolish it within three weeks, in a big blow to the Navy establishment.
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday had reserved the judgement into the Navy Sailing Club established at the banks of Rawal Dam in suburbs of capital Islamabad. Chief Justice Athar Minallah in a short judgement ruled that the Navy does not have the authority to undertake a real estate venture and the name of the institution cannot be used for such activities.
”The sailing club is illegal, and therefore, it should be demolished in three weeks,” the IHC chief justice said. He declared the Capital Development Authority, responsible for civic work in Islamabad, was not empowered to issue a no-objection certificate to the Pakistan Navy, as the institution had encroached on National Parks’ land. The inauguration of the club by the former naval chief, Admiral (retd) Zafar Mahmood Abbasi was also declared unconstitutional and the court ordered to initiate “criminal” and “misconduct” proceedings against the former Navy chief and others responsible for the construction of the “illegal” sailing club.
The IHC had been hearing the case since July 2020 on the petition filed by a woman, who challenged the construction with the plea that under the Supreme Court had banned construction in the National Park in Islamabad. The petitioner also argued that the water stored in the Rawal Dam is used by the residents in Rawalpindi and Islamabad and the sailing club will cause pollution.
The judgement is a big blow to the Navy establishment which, like the powerful Pakistan Army, has been involved in various commercial activities. The judgement came weeks after the Supreme Court ordered the Army to hand over land leased to it in a Karachi park to the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) within two weeks.
A two-member apex court bench comprising Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Qazi Mohammad Amin trashed the 99-year lease issued by the KMC in 2005 while hearing a case relating to the Askari Park on December 27.