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Plant For Pakistan: A Movement

  • Shahid Ahmad Khan
  • Oct, 2018
  • 991
  • National

Keeping in view the increasing environmental pollution and its implications, the new government kick-started the Plant for Pakistan Movement in the country.  Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated 10 billion trees project by planning and watering a sapling in Haripur district, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) on 2 September 2018. The new government intends to complete the project in five years of their tenure to make the country green. As a matter of fact, Pakistan is the seventh on the list of those countries which will be affected by global warming. The drive to 10 billion plants is actually a war for the survival of our future generations. For Prime Minister, the aim of the project is to beat the threat of global warming and climate change. For this purpose, 200 points in different cities have been marked initially. Later on, the drive will be carried out in all cities across the country. The prime minister has claimed that his provincial government has already planted 1.18 billion trees in K-P.

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report, Pakistan loses 42,000 hectares or 2.1% of its forest every year. The UN advises the countries that they must have forest cover of 25% of their total land. Alarmingly Pakistan's total fast dwindling forest cover is only 2.2%. We need to have knowledge about the warning from the world experts that Pakistan will run out of forests within the next 50 years if deforestation continues at the current rate. Pakistan is ranked in the Top 10 in a list of countries most likely to be affected by global warming due to deforestation. UNFAO terms it as the highest rate of deforestation in Asia at 2.4% per annum.

WWF has already expressed great concern on the Punjab Forest Act of 1927 amended in 2016. These amendments paved the way for destruction of protected forest lands in Punjab having an adverse effect on biodiversity and compounding problem of climate change as witnessed by the hazardous smog disaster recently. The situation is not good at Sindh Province where forest area has decreased by 80% due to professional misjudgment since 1971-from 500,000 to 100,000 acres stated Forest and Wild Life Department, Govt of Sindh, in a report submitted to SC in December, 2017.

According to the PM Khan's adviser on Climate Change, Amin Aslam, the program initiated by ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Green Pakistan Programme (GPP), will be assimilated into the billion tree Tsunami project. The purpose of the campaign is to encourage people, communities, organisations, business and industry, civil society and government to collectively plant trees. Last week of the August 2018, the federal government instructed around 12 provincial departments, all divisional and deputy commissioners to plant trees for 'plant for Pakistan' day, however, officials were baffled as no specific instructions came from the federal department.

The campaign has been launched with a vision of Prime Minister. Now it has become a mission of the government. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government will plant trees on government lands and by the roadsides wherever they find space for plantation in addition to planting trees in the forests. The Government intends to introduce a subject in school which would increase the importance of plantation and cleanliness among children from the beginning. During the previous decade, forests have been destroyed in Punjab and K-P while timbers worth of Rs200 billion were chopped off illegally. 

Imran Khan's heart was at the right place when he said that that it is not only the responsibility of government or of an individual but it is the responsibility of every citizen to take part in the campaign and contribute to make this country green otherwise the land would convert into desert owing to melting glaciers. Meanwhile the district administration of Peshawar along with other government departments planted 231,000 saplings in the provincial capital of K-P under “Green Peshawar” campaign. In the campaign, the Rescue 1122, Provincial Disaster Management Authority, Frontier College for Women, University of Peshawar, Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education and various schools across the city participated and planted saplings.

It is said that Prime Minister Imran Khan was always a lover of trees and Galiyat, leaving no stone unturned to promote and protect Mother Nature. Having invested $123 million to help establish 13,000 private nurseries, KP Govt empowered local youth and women through generation of thousands of 'Green Jobs' not to mention curtailment of corrupt practices of 'Timber Mafia' by dismantling hundreds of Illegal sawmills and arresting timber cutters.

Imran Khan's party won the election 2013 in KPK and formed the government t...

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