3 Arrested, 15 Cases Filed Amid New Margalla Hills Blaze

Officials reported that three men have been arrested and 15 cases filed in connection with multiple fire incidents at the Margalla Hills. Firefighting efforts continued on Friday to control the blazes

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Islamabad Chief Commissioner Muhammad Ali Randhawa, who also serves as the chairman of the Capital Development Authority (CDA), confirmed the arrests and cases in a post on X.

“We will ensure all those responsible are held accountable. We are committed to protecting our beautiful hills at any cost,” he asserted.

Randhawa, confirmed in a post on X that three men have been arrested and 15 cases filed in connection with multiple fire incidents at the Margalla Hills.

CDA spokesperson Kamran Aslam reported that the authority’s environment wing apprehended the three individuals from a location where a fire had been raging earlier today.

They were subsequently handed over to the Islamabad police.

Aslam added that the suspects have been identified and that patrolling at Margalla Hills has been increased following instructions from the CDA chairman.

Earlier today, the CDA announced that over 80 firefighters were actively engaged in efforts to control a new fire at the renowned hills.

The operation was initially focused on the center of the blaze after firefighters had managed to control the flames on the sides, as detailed in a post on X.

Efforts to extinguish the fires at Margalla Hills are ongoing, with authorities striving to prevent further damage and ensure the safety of the area.

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According to the CDA spokesperson, assistance from a helicopter has been enlisted in the operation, and additional teams have been dispatched to support the firefighting efforts.

As per the CDA spokesperson, Environment Director Asif Majeed, acting on the directives of CDA Chairman Mohammad Ali Randhawa, personally oversaw the operation. Aslam further stated that the assistant commissioner responsible for the area was also present at the site.

The CDA spokesperson emphasized that the high-speed winds and hot weather conditions were posing challenges in extinguishing the blaze. He reiterated that every available resource was being deployed to bring the fire under control.

Margalla Hills, spanning 12,605 hectares, experience numerous fire incidents annually. On Tuesday alone, 15 such cases were reported, requiring nearly eight hours of continuous operation to extinguish.

Amid suspicions of human involvement, the interior minister has instructed an inquiry, the filing of a first information report (FIR), and the establishment of a committee to investigate the fire incidents.

The following day, Randhawa, who also serves as Islamabad’s chief commissioner, convened a meeting with the city’s police chief, Syed Ali Nasir Rizvi, and other officials. During the meeting, they pledged to thoroughly investigate any potential human involvement in such incidents.

The Margalla Hills are under the jurisdiction of two organizations, namely the CDA and the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board. Over the past few years, tensions have persisted between these two entities. Some officials have suggested the possibility that individuals seeking to sow discord between these organizations may be behind the suspected deliberate fire incidents.

The incidents gained attention earlier this week when two fires broke out in the Saidpur range of the hills. Firefighters, assisted by helicopters, managed to extinguish the fires after a seven-hour operation.

The following day, another fire broke out, spreading to the Noorpur range. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif took notice of the situation in response to the escalating fires.

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