While improving facilities it is essential to protect, preserve natural environment in major cities, towns and at picturesque areas for our own people and to promote both local and foreign tourism, yet it is unfortunate that federal and provisional governments in addition to highly influential land mafias in the country over the years have been playing havoc with the beauty of our surroundings by felling grown-up trees and other flora and fauna brazenly. Supreme Court has recently taken a suo motu notice on the chopping of trees and illegal constructions in Murree and adjacent areas describing the emergeSultan M Halince of private housing societies as dangerous for the forests.
There is no doubt that with increase in population, the demand for housing has also increased manifold but it has been seen that official, semi-official and private housing schemes have been given a free hand to build their societies while inflicting heavy damage to environment and surroundings. Even fertile agriculture land has not been spared in the lust for plots and money. The regrettable part is that even picturesque areas like Murree have not been spared by such housing societies. Timber Mafia also has destroyed the green cover in Northern Areas, KP, Balochistan and Murree — areas thronged by a large number of people from all parts of the country to witness mesmerising natural beauty. This shows clear negligence or connivance of provincial forest departments and strict action needs to be taken against officials who failed to fulfil their responsibilities. As the matter is seized with the apex court, we expect that it will order appropriate action that discourages the spread of housing societies in the country and areas like Murree as well as check the timber mafia from further booming on the illegal business of smuggling of precious wood in order to avoid turning of these areas into barren land. As lot of damage has already been done to environment in Murree, it is time for relevant quarters to regularly launch tree plantation campaigns in the area in order to restore its original beauty. Same is required in all major cities, which unfortunately have become concrete jungles in the name of development, if we really want to protect our country from the hazards of climate change which poses greater threat than that of terrorism.
Reporter. Preserve environment to mitigate climate change. Pakistan Observer, October 22, 2017.