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      December 23, 2013



District Chitral is the only source of water provider to down country due to its strategic location and being reservoir of glaciers in the High Hindu Kush Region. Chitral role is tantamount to head in impacting echo system of Pakistan. If there is problem in Chitral with regard to environment it will seriously affect the whole Indus Belt which ultimately impact whole Pakistan. For the last many years heinous deforestation and ruthless cutting of green deodar trees are taking place in the limited forest areas of Chitral in spite of public grievance against the crime. Timber Mafia is so strong in Chitral that ordinary community members are completely helpless before the mafia which has strong nexus with government department. Forest department primary role is protection of forests, but here in Chitral instead of protecting forest it is promoting timber mafia at public expense. On the one hand forest department is annihilating natural forests through timber mafia in the garb of marking and artificial harvesting on the other hand millions of rupees are siphoned off on account of fake plantation which has no physical existence anywhere in Chitral.

Oncontrary, Individuals have developed their own forests on the basis of self-help without any government intervention which also reflect flaws in forest department plantation strategy. In the previous coalition of ANP and PPP we appealed to government functionaries to control artificial harvesting of green deodar trees in district Chitral but no step has been taken by the outgoing government and the process continued unabated. When PTI assumed government in KP with the slogan of change and zero tolerance for corruption we were high expectation from the government that it will take some step to bridle timber mafia in Chitral but all our expectation dashed to ground after six months of new PTI government in KP province. At the initial stage Chief Minister of KP and Minister of Forest and Environment publicly announced to control all type of cutting in the province which was highly appreciated by the people of forest areas like Chitral. Even in his public meeting at Polo Ground Chitral at the time of election campaign PTI Chief Imran Khan publicly announced to maintain greenery of Chitral by controlling all type of green cutting which were taking place in the Chitral. As environmental activists we also publicly applauded the announcement of Provincial government for environmental friendly initiatives which have not been materialized till filling this report.

To evaluate steps of present government I have visited a few forest areas of Chitral which disappointed me so much that the same situation still exists in the said areas without any iota of change. After green, cutting transportation of timber is in process in Shishikuh valley which reflect deserting look for an environmental activist like me. I captured pictorial image of the whole situation which present dooms day like situation for future generation and echo-system in Chitral. Chain-saws have demonstrated their efficacy and whole deodar forests of Kalas and Goringole have been completely destructed by timber mafia which I visited and it compelled me to burst into tear to see that what is going to happen with our green gold by a few members of elite with the support of government respective departments.

Community members told me that, if any person opposes timber mafia he is implicated into concocted case and coerced by timber mafia with the support of police force. I have been told by local people that one Mr. Ahsanul Haq an educated person challenged timber mafia in the court of law but the strong mafia implicated him into concocted murder case through Drosh Police Station and ultimately he is compelled to withdraw his case so that the process of deforestation continue. After passing about 50 days in Chitral prison Mr. Ahsan yielded before timber mafia and withdrew all his cases so that the murder case could be compromised in return. With highest financial strength timber mafia is fully using government departments like police and forest department to materialize its nefarious design. The situation is so gravies that could not be mentioned in this piece of paper but it is realized if someone visits the scene with open eyes.

We are helpless before timber mafia but we are not hopeless even with the said situation because we always look opportunities in challenges. Being an activist we donít have force to implement our ideas rather we could forward some sort of policy guidelines to the government as our social responsibility. Having being disappointed from present PTI government we again remind Imran Khan his promise which he made in Public gathering in Pologround Chitral to control deforestation which is still taking place with full swing in the garb of artificial harvesting. We also directly appeal to Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif to take immediate notice and take step for controlling deforestation in Chitral by placing bane on any type of artificial harvesting in Chitral. Chief Justice Peshawar High Court also took so motto notice of deforestation in KP province but we have not witnessed any type of impact of the case on deforestation in Chitral. This process of deforestation seriously exposed Chitral to floods which created havoc in the whole districts and created serious problems for the people. If complete ban is not placed on marking and artificial harvesting severity of floods and natural calamity will be imminent in the near future. If one visit valley of Shishkuh and other forests areas he will hear the sound of chain-saw instead of wild life which has become extinct in the said areas due to eradication of forest which provide them shelter. Irony of the fat is that timber machines have been installed in forest areas which are totally prohibited under forest rules. In nutshell respective government machinery is busy in annihilation of forest in the garb of marking and artificial harvesting for their own pecuniary benefits and in facilitation of timber mafia. If judicial enquiry has been initiated by PTI government we the people of Chitral and especially of forest areas feel fain to provide solid proofs of irregularities and green cutting which have been observed in the process of marking and artificial harvesting in various forest of Chitral.

Rehmat Ali Jaffardos,
Environmental Activist Chitral



mail @ chitraltimes@gmail.com

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