Pakistan: Fecto Cement appeals mining ban

Pakistan: Fecto Cement appeals mining ban
20 October 2016

Fecto Cement has requested the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to allow it to carry out stone crushing activities in the Margalla Hills, which has been listed as a national park since 1980. The cement manufacturer asked the court to declare the lease cancellation letters issued by the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration and the Capital Development Authority (CDA) null and void.

The ICT issued a mining lease to Fecto Cement in 2013 allowing it to carry out stone crushing activities in the Margalla Hills until 2030. However, following Supreme Court orders in March 2015 all such activities in the Margalla Hills National Parl were stopped. ICT cancelled the lease issued to Fecto Cement, directing the company to stop all quarrying and remove its installations. the CDA also withdrew approval, citing the Wildlife (Protection, Conservation and Management) Ordinance 1979, which says mining activities are banned in the Margalla Hills.

Fecto Cement urged the IHC to “declare [the] excavation of limestone for cement manufacturing from the leased area as lawful and [the] legal right of the company”. It also asked the court to permanently restrict city managers from interfering in mining activities in the area.

The next hearing on the matter will be held on 1 November 2016, with the IHC accepting written responses from all concerned departments, including the Pakistan Environment Protection Agency (Pak-EPA), CDA, ICT, Ministry of Industries and Survey of Pakistan.

In 2012 Pak-EPA, CDA and ICT worked together to shut down 18 stone crushing plants operating in the Margalla Hills National Park. Similar operations were also conducted in 2015 inside the Islamabad Capital Territory. Despite this, 200 stone crushing plants installed in Punjab continue to extract stone from the tail end of the hills, causing what the concerned parties consider irreparable damage to the natural habitat of the Margalla Hills.

Published under Cement News