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     December 14,  2015


“Save Chitral, save Pakistan” campaign kicks off in Chitral

By Zahiruddin

CHITRAL:” If you want to save the plains of Pakistan, then rush to save Chitral at first”, this is the message and motto of our awareness campaign through which we want to expose the impending dangers to the whole country emanating from melting of glaciers to deforestation in Chitral, says Sartaj Ahmad Khan, convener of “Save Chitral, save Pakistan” campaign.

Talking to Chitral Times  here on Sunday, he said that during the past couple of decades, the plains of the country have seen unprecedented flash floods in Chitral have inflicted loss on the physical infrastructures worth of billions of rupees and inundating thousands of acres of fertile farm lands and bringing life activities to a standstill for many weeks.

Mr. Khan lamented that no effort is made to stem the tide in its origin by the successive governments including the present one as a result of which the situation is tends to grim more both in Chitral and other parts of the country.

He contended that the river of Chitral, re-enters the plains of the country near Peshawar (where it is named as Kabul river) after entering Afghanistan area in Arandu and the flood in Chitral river causes flood in the Peshawar valley and downstream.

He said that Chitral is the home of 540 glaciers which fed different tributaries of Chitral river and the phenomenon of glacial lake outburst floods (GLOF) have wiped out a number of villages in the summer season causing high flood in the river.

“The high floods in Chitral river also caused silting of the dams both in Warsak and Tarbela which are fed by the river water and thereby reduce their life span”, he said adding that steps should be taken to stop of melting down of glaciers on war footings.

“The flash floods are the direct effect of deforestation on large scale while the local people have no alternative sources to fulfill their growing needs of both timber for construction and fuel for heating and cooking”, he said.

He said that both the flash floods and the GLOF in Chitral are man-made disasters to a great extent for which remedial measures can be taken but it is not possible without addressing the basic needs of the local people who must be given alternative means and ways to utilize the natural resources.

Mr. Khan said that Chitral acted water reservoir for the plains of the country and its disturbance to any degree can lead to a colossal loss and it was driving force behind the campaign launched in Chitral.

He said that the campaign is aimed at highlighting the danger and divert the attention of the government towards it for which different modes of expression are being adopted ranging from arranging seminars to awareness walks and protest processions.



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