Land Of Monal Restaurant Belongs To Pakistan Army: Khwaja Asif

Former Defence Minister says that there are around five such disputes between army and the citizens but he will defend the right of the army over this piece of land everywhere.

ISLAMABAD: (DNN – Dekh News Network -Jan 13th, 2020) PML-N leader and Former Defence Minister Khwaja Asif said that Pakistan Army’s claim over the land of Monal Restaurant was legitimate as it belonged to it.

He said the area where Monal Restaurant was built and also the adjoining areas belong to Pakistan Army as record of 1893 and 1921 showed. “The entire area was known as military forms in the past,” he was quoted as saying by a local urdu newspaper.

“I’m ready to make it clear at any forum including tv channels and national assembly that this area belongs to Pakistan army,” he added.

He pointed out that there were five such disputes between Pakistan army and the citizens across the country and this matter of Monal Restaurant came to him when he was a Defence Minister.

On Jan 9th, the management of Monal Restaurant started paying monthly rent to GHQ Rawalpindi after Pakistan Army claimed ownership of the piece of land on which it was established at Margalla Hills.

A local paper claimed that Rs 484,000 rent was paid to GHQ last year in September. The amount was paid through a pay-order. Similarly, Rs 1.3 million was paid in November and Rs 9,00,000 was paid in December.

On Nov 15, CDA told parliamentary committee that around 5,500-acre piece of land at Margalla Hills where Monal Restaurant was built was allocated to Pakistan Army.

According to the reports, CDA made this revelation through its Member Planning Dr. Shahid Mahmood before National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Climate Change.

The CDA official said Monal Restaruant was built on military grasslands until the army claimed it. He expressed thier views while appearing before National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Climate Change. He said it was one and a half decade old matter and the CDA was not aware about it that whether this piece of land belonged to army.

He briefed the committee that the entire land where Margalla Hills National Park is actually was owned by Punjab government and it was around 22, 5000 acres of land.

“5,500 acres out of 22,000 were allocated to Pakistan Army but the exact year of allocation was not mentioned anywhere,” said the official.

He said 16,500 acres piece of land was now under the control of Capital Development Authority (CDA).

However, the restaurant was built at the piece of land that was allocated to Pakistan Army in 2005. According to the CDA, the land was given to the restaurant on lease for 10 years and now it was being vacated and handed over to army.

The Standing Committee on Climate change, however, was interested in knowing that how the land was allocated to the restaurant inside the national park. At this, the CDA official said that several inquiries were conducted as who was allowed construction of restaurant at this land.

“No one was held accountable in all inquiries,” said Dr. Mahmood, adding that he may present the decision of the CDA before the committee members. On it, the committee chairman nodded in positive saying that complete information about construction of Monal Restaurant on protected land should be shared.

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