The Islamabad High Court issued show cause notices for contempt of court to Climate Change Minister Zartaj Gul and Wildlife Management Board members on Tuesday in the case pertaining to deaths of animals in the federal capital’s zoo.
The case was heard by IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah, who sought replies from the parties.
During the hearing, Climate Change Secretary Naheed Durrani stated before the court that members of the cabinet had nothing to do with the matter. “I accept full responsibility for the incident,” she said referring to the recent animal deaths at the zoo.
The federal cabinet gave the approval for the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) hence it is also responsible, remarked Justice Minallah.
Denying the deputy attorney general’s request to not issue show-cause notices, the court issued show-cause notices for contempt of court to the federal officials, including Durrani and Adviser to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam as well.
The law ministry cannot review this court’s decision, remarked Justice Minallah. The investigation you [climate change secretary] carried out is a separate matter, but by not following the directives of this court, contempt of court was committed, he observed.
Justice Minallah asked whether the climate change secretary would rather notices be issued to the prime minister, adding that the premier probably does not even know what has unfolded.
The court issued show-cause notices for contempt of court to the climate change minister, adviser and secretary, and members of the board, and adjourned the hearing till August 27.
In May, the IHC had directed to shift all animals from Islamabad Zoo to other zoos or private sanctuaries, local or abroad, due to the poor state of the zoo, and to protect them from mismanagement at Islamabad Zoo.
The court had also handed over the management of the zoo to Islamabad Wildlife Management Board from Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation.
However, once the process of transferring animals to other zoos or private sanctuaries across the country was initiated, it proved to be deadly for some wild animals.
At least 10 animals held at the Islamabad Zoo have died recently during attempts to transfer them to sanctuaries due to the alleged incompetence and negligence of the caretakers.