Timber chopping in G-B: Authorities move summary to ban practice

Published: April 9, 2013

The lifting on the timber movement ban had drawn criticism from environmental activists. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Climate Change has agreed to forward a summary to the cabinet secretary to reverse an order, that had allowed the transport of timber from Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) down country.

The notification, which lifted a ban on the movement of legally and illegally cut timber from the forests in district Diamer, was approved by former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf just a day before the government’s term ended on March 16.

The lifting on the timber movement ban had drawn criticism from environmental activists and at least one Diamer native, Muhammad Khan Qureshi, who has been campaigning against deforestation in Chilas.

The activists claim the timber mafia in Diamer has already started illegal felling of trees and it would be difficult to monitor if the timber being transported is legal or illegal because of the timber mafia’s ties with local forest guards.

During a Senate Standing Committee on Climate Change meeting on Monday, the secretary of the climate change ministry, Muhammad Ali Gardezi, said he would gather written statements from the Akhtar Hameed Khan Resource Centre (AHKRC) and the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF), whose representatives were present at the meeting, and prepare a summary.

“I can write to the cabinet secretary, requesting them to reverse the order otherwise we could have international problems,” Gardezi told the committee chairperson, Dr Saeeda Iqbal.

The problems Gardezi was referring to include Pakistan’s global commitments such as Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation and the Nagoya Protocol, which are threatened by illegal logging.

Earlier, Iqbal had said the Diamer timber movement was not in the committee’s purview. “It is a provincial issue; it is not related to my committee,” she said. “All we can do is to make recommendations to the relevant authorities,” she added.

The meeting included a briefing on the role of federal and provincial governments regarding deforestation and trophy hunting by AHKRC Director Fayyaz Baqir. He said effective forest monitoring entities at the national level are needed in order for Pakistan to deliver on its international commitments.

Zafar Pervaiz Sabri, group head of the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund, presented the fund’s climate change development interventions in impoverished communities across the country.

Furthermore, WWF Pakistan Director General Ali Hassan Habib recommended the committee to form a subgroup that could propose improvements in three priority areas namely conservation of natural forests, freshwater flows and strengthening the unique role of federal and provincial government regarding forestry.

Habib suggested the subgroup could meet with the caretaker law ministry to identify feasible actions in this regard. He added Pakistan has comprehensive policies for climate change but the actual on-ground situation is often different.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 9th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (29)

  • Still some hope
    Apr 9, 2013 - 5:29PM

    This needs strong follow up to bring to books those who do deforestation

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  • Still some hope
    Apr 9, 2013 - 5:32PM

    Who is the Secretary who moved this summary for approval of the innocent Prime Minister ? PTI has an Environmental manifesto but is silent on forests and how PTI will handle this complex problem

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  • A. Khan
    Apr 9, 2013 - 10:20PM

    Trust the bureaucracy to just create more paperwork. Writing a summary and sending it for approval.

    I wonder how many trees were felled to manufacture the paper required for fueling the bureaucracies insatiable appetite for creating paper work. At least, it keeps these people employed.

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  • All Foresters
    Apr 10, 2013 - 12:16AM

    Agreed but what alternate you propose? We will follow you but what alternate you have

    Ahmed Khan
    Trust the bureaucracy to just create more paperwork. Writing a summary and sending it for approval.
    I wonder how many trees were felled to manufacture the paper required for fueling the bureaucracies insatiable appetite for creating paper work. At least, it keeps these people employed.

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  • G A K
    Apr 10, 2013 - 12:20AM

    This is time for action not rhetoric like A Khan proposes. Tribune print issue has gained a reputation of a great environmental newspaper. It has been editorials and paper newspapers that changed course of history and is time now

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  • G A K
    Apr 10, 2013 - 12:23AM

    Criticize the bureaucracy for what?has A Khan done something better if so what was that?

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  • CS Malik
    Apr 10, 2013 - 12:26AM

    In case the interim government pays no heed to this deforestation what alternate is proposed other than criticize the bureaucracy

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  • Retired bureaucrat
    Apr 10, 2013 - 12:32AM

    My years of experience of work in provinces convinces me that forestry is not a subject to be left to be dealt with average capacity officers. What is needed to select the best brains as it was in the past and attract high achievers. To my surprise I once found that majority of officers and staff in the forestry service were relatives. They had found a shortcut to enter without competition through project based or self finance in the forest college Peshawar
    So do not expect high performance form average peoples.
    You cannot fly like an eagle when you work with Turkeys is the lesson dear Ahmed Khan

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  • Ex Secretary
    Apr 10, 2013 - 12:37AM

    During my years of working as head of many organizations I find that forest bureaucracy needs overhaul while they still are far better in caliber than most big names in NGOs

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  • Darjat
    Apr 10, 2013 - 7:48AM

    I wonder if any Org/s have the capacity and willingness to prepare documentary and present the situation of natural forest up in those locations…a very bleak picture

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  • Mayar Khan
    Apr 10, 2013 - 10:33AM

    There are many brave environmentalists over here, WCS’s Mayur Khan is one and amongst flocks of useless there are bright and upright officers in the forest department as well. But they need some encouragement and job security

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  • Joji Shall rise
    Apr 10, 2013 - 10:35AM

    A good camera and good skills for film making is what is needed rest the local environmentalists can assist any one interested to make a documentary to please contact any of the offices of forest department or WCS Gilgit

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  • W Malik
    Apr 10, 2013 - 10:38AM

    We have excellent film makers like Wajahat Malik. Can any body convince him to make this public interest movie

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  • Towa Zee
    Apr 10, 2013 - 1:57PM

    Looking for a miracle to happen

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  • Deforestation Weekend Party
    Apr 11, 2013 - 6:20PM

    I wish there was enough community in the country on deforestation

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  • Rental Deforestation by gladiator Section officer
    Apr 11, 2013 - 6:34PM

    the act of the ex PM is not only a permit to cut more trees but he also gives clear signal to remove the last remaining green trees in 3 months time. Why three months?
    Maybe a look at the Section officer Sq leader Shakil Raza who signed the order on behalf of the prime Minister will reveal the story. Shakil Haider is working on this post for the last two decades and knows how to play with deforestation. A visit of our journalists to the GB Council to meet this great deforest-or/ gladiator will unleash sparkling facts

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  • Deforestation Knocks
    Apr 11, 2013 - 7:28PM

    Now that deforestation has reached your doorsteps what to do next. I propose we hold a press conference for accountability of all including NGOs

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  • BABAR
    Apr 11, 2013 - 10:09PM

    This is complex situation riddled with corruption and only thoroughbred knowledgeable persons can decode. I fear there is life threat to those who have full knowledge, thereat of bribe otherwise threat of job lost. But our future generation is to suffer any way if we keep silent

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  • Fairy Meadows no more
    Apr 11, 2013 - 10:24PM

    Perhaps this is the last year that one can enjoy Fairy Meadows because with this rate of cutting no tree will be left for the next generation

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  • SAFI Awami Forestry Ittehad
    Apr 11, 2013 - 11:34PM

    Peoples check posts to check illegal timber worked well and we commit to work for a good cause and reactivate the platform of SAFI we will hold press conferences in Abottabdad and Islamabad and will urge that timber from Hazara and Kohistan should not be mixed in the garb of the permit issued by the hon ex PM>

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  • Deforest with a rental style
    Apr 12, 2013 - 12:03AM

    This is the time if society wants to survive then plant more trees and save the standing ones

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  • ziaullah Thakvi
    Apr 12, 2013 - 2:02AM

    The historical and beautiful forest of Babusar was destroyed by timber mafias, now the particular area is under control of our community and we are protecting the newly growing trees for restore the natural beauty of Babusar. We hope that we are succeeding in our efforts. For best succeeding we need help of the organizations which are working about deforestation, promote tourism,climate change and the protection of environment. We also support morally all efforts of the organizations and personalities about deforestation across the world particularly in Pakistan. We congratulate to K.M.Qureshi to taking under notice the important issue Our slogan “growing green forests beauty Pakistan”

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  • all foresters
    Apr 13, 2013 - 11:35PM

    Today daily Dawn printed report of a press conference on this issue http://dawn.com/2013/04/13/lack-of-political-will-blamed-for-deforestation/
    But the irony is that all readers comments are closed even without opening ? strange enough. Does this convey the message that Dawn has closed the issue of deforestation ?Recommend

  • Timber smugglers Inc
    Apr 14, 2013 - 10:45AM

    The Punjab can meet all expenses for roads reconstruction by levy of tax on this timber as was done by NWFP in the past. Punjab has already levied timber cess from petrol pumps that have t cut roadside trees. On same rules 400 m PKR can be earned for forest development fund form this case alone
    this is only a suggestion in good faith as the margin of incentive for the mafia is too high by levy of cess incentives may come down
    Mahmood

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  • GB
    Apr 16, 2013 - 9:03AM

    Hope its environmentally sustainable.

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  • Varma
    Apr 16, 2013 - 12:14PM

    It is agencies that deal with water and power plus floods have to sit and decide the science part of it

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  • Sanjay
    Apr 17, 2013 - 9:18PM

    I am amazed that forest cover in Pakistan ha increased more than any country in the region. How could it? Please can anybody of responsibility verify the veracity of the news of daily Dawn link is
    http://dawn.com/2012/12/12/study-shows-3-3pc-increase-in-kp-forest-cover-2/

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  • Ali Hassan
    Apr 18, 2013 - 3:09PM

    I could not find the the book ” Forest Atlas of Pakistan 2013″ can WWF provide a copy on the website? This book was quoted in the provincial Assembly to report that forest area of Pakistan has increased by 3.3 percent ?

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  • Khan Quresh M
    May 18, 2013 - 2:05PM

    The interim govt posting offices which make them good money but for forests nothing is doing long live intrim govet

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