SWAT: Once dubbed as the Switzerland of Pakistan, famous for its scenic beauty and many waterfalls, Swat now lies war-torn with most of its beauty and spirit crushed.
Recovering from a long battle for survival, the valley continues to fight for its lost identity. The fierce war has destroyed the land, leaving it mostly barren. An initiative for tree plantation is the only way to rescue Swat from this epidemic of deforestation. Forests are spread over 148,000 acres of land in Swat with various types of trees in areas like Malam Jabba, Mian Adam, Sakhra, Behrain, Kalam, Gibral and Modhand.
Former Nazim Kalam Habib ullah Saqib said that there will be no forests left if the government does not initiate a plantation program on an emergency basis. He urged the government to launch an awareness programme on the issue, so that people become conscious of the problems associated with deforestation.
The Provincial Minister for Forests Wajid Ali Khan claims that the government has planned to plant 1 million trees this year.
“We are aware of the problem. The military operation in the region has not helped this issue, the land has suffered greatly because of the fighting,” he told the media.
Khan guaranteed that the government is fully committed to the plantation program and will see that it is completed speedily. The army has also offered its support to the government in this and has said that it will use the aerial plantation technique to assure the prompt completion of this project.
Schools in the region have involved children in this programme as well, by making them aware of the importance of trees and initiating exercises for children that involve seed plantation in the area. The lack of trees not only adds to the pollution but also leads to the decreased rain and snowfall in the region.
Rain is important for cash crops like rice, wheat and strawberries, which are the source of livelihood for the people in the area.