At least 5,982 cases of illegal timber felling and smuggling registered in 2013 are still pending, revealed documents submitted to the provincial assembly.
According to the documents, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s forest department registered about 7,910 cases against those involved in cases of illegal timber felling and smuggling. Out of these, at least 263 cases were registered in central-southern forest region, 634 cases in northern forest region while 7,013 cases were filed in the Malakand forest region. The document added that out of these cases from three forest regions of I, II and III, only 1,928 cases were decided during the year.
Moreover, out of the 263 cases in central-south forest region, 96 cases were registered in Nowshera, four in Charsadda, 15 in Mardan, 132 in Swabi, 15 in Kohat and one in Bannu. None of these cases were decided in 2013. The figures for the northern forest region showed about 24 cases were registered in Haripur. Nearly 12 of these cases were decided whereas 12 are still pending, Out of the 11 cases registered in Abbotabad, only four were decided, while seven remain pending.
According to the document, 565 cases were registered in Mansehra during the course of the year but only 86 were decided and the rest have yet to be heard. In Battagram, 33 of the registered cases were decided and one case registered in lower Kohistan is still pending.
Out of the 7,013 cases registered in Malakand forest region, 1,151 were registered in Swat. Only 859 of these cases from Swat were decided whereas 292 are still pending. Nearly 917 cases were filed from Buner. Out of these, 621 were cleared and 296 have yet to be decided.
The document added 344 cases were registered from Shangla, 30 from Lower Dir, 710 from Upper Dir, 3,830 from Kohistan and 31 from Chitral.
However, some of these cases are also pending. Nearly 122 from Shangla, 11 from Lower Dir, 639 from Upper Dir, 3,829 from Kohistan and all cases from Chitral have yet to be decided.
The documents showed that the department recovered Rs47.7 million in fines and compensation since 1986. According to statistics, the Malakand forest division recovered about Rs4.42 million from 227 cases whereas the forest division in northern forest region and central-south region recovered Rs38.532 million from 1,443 cases and Rs4.756 million from 316 cases, respectively.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 26th, 2014.