ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad Wildlife Management Board has sought clarification from the Capital Development Authority over the ‘legal status’ of the La Montana restaurant, which is located at Margalla Hills National Park. A letter in this regard was written by the Chairperson of the IWMB Rina Saeed Khan to the Chairman CDA, in which she pointed out that the M/s Capital View Point restaurant commonly known as ‘La Montana’ is doing commercial activities in violation of Section 21 of Islamabad Wildlife (Protection, Preservation, Conservation and Management) Ordinance 1979. The letter added further that the operations of La Montana restaurant are also in violation of the directions passed by the Islamabad High Court barring all commercial activities in the area. The IWMB requested the CDA to clarify its position about the legal status of La Montana in the light of Islamabad High Court order for further necessary actions. Officials inside the civic authority explained that the said restaurant was initially a small kiosk but later turned to be a gigantic hotel gradually. They further informed that there was no proper approval in hand of the owner of the said kiosk but he got multiple tainted sanctions later from the Directorate of Municipal Administration, Directorate of Environment and the Building Control. On the other hand, when contacted, owner of the La Montana Restaurant Shoukat Awan claimed that he has met all the legal requirements to run hotel in the Margalla Hills National Park. “I started this restaurant in the early 1990s when there was nothing in the area to attract the citizens,” he maintained, informing: “I have built this building by my own investment and I also got approval of my building plans from the Building Control Department.” He has informed further that the space to build the said hotel was given to him by the Directorate of Municipal Administration and he is paying Rs5 lakh per month as its rent. Deputy Commissioner Islamabad Irfan Nawaz Memon, who is also administrator of the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad was tried to approach but he was unavailable for the comments. However, while responding on the issue, Director DMA Shakeel Arshad Cheena has confirmed that a letter from IWMB had been received in the directorate but it is under process yet and after thoroughly studying the case, the directorate will respond back. He said if the restaurant has been working on such a main location for the last many years then there should be a proper approval but he said I am not in the position to comment on it without going through the file. It is pertinent to mention that it is not the first time that La Montana Restaurant has come under discussion but in the past a high-powered environmental commission constituted by the IHC had already declared La Montana restaurants as illegal because it violated regulations of Islamabad Capital Territory Zoning Regulations. Meanwhile, Ministry of Climate Change and Pakistan Environment Protection Agency had also issued notices to this hilltop eatery in February 2022 to immediately stop operating in the National Park. It was alleged in the notices that the restaurant was established without environmental approvals while the management didn’t provide plans for solid waste management, sewerage water, and drinking water supply despite several notices.