RAWALPINDI: Federal Minister for Climate Change, Mushahidullah Khan, has said that motivating forest officers and providing government protection at all levels is inevitable to enable them to protect and conserve forests in the country.
“He also called for a nationwide fight against foes of the forests, who are illegally gulping the forests for their own economic gains without caring that such evil acts would only add to the environmental degradation but also increase diseases.
Because, Forests are must for healthy living and environmental sustainable,” the minister told media here on Thursday at the Holy Family Hospital after visiting and consoling the injured senior forest officer of Kallar Syedan and two of his forest guards.
Environment expert and PML-N’s member National Assembly Marriyum Aurangzeb, Inspector General of Forest and other senior officials of the ministry were also present with Mushahidullah Khan during the visit.
The senior forest officer Irshadullah Gondal along with his three subordinates was brutally injured on the night of June 27 by Unsif Almaroof s/o Mohammad Ajaaib and his 21-member illegal loggers’ gang, when in an illegal logging operation the forest team led by Mr. Gondal intercepted a tractor-trolley loaded logs of precious species with worth 300,000, which was illegally chopped in state-owned Ghoon forest in Tehsil Kahuta.
The sub-divisional forest officer (SDFO) Irshadullah Gonda and two other forest officials are presently under medical treatment at the Holy Family Hospital. An FIR has been registered with the Kahuta sub-district police but none of the arrests have taken place so far.
The minister expressed serious concern over the savage assault on the forest officials by the enemies of forests and environment. He urged the Punjab forest minister to play his part in bringing the culprits to book and make them face exemplary punishment.
Mushahidullah Khan also urged the Punjab forest minister and secretary to announce certificates of appreciation/bravery and cash prizes for the injured forest officials and said, “Such move motivate other forest officials to stand guard for fast depleting forest resources against the forest mafia.”
Meanwhile, Mushahidullah Khan said that country’s existing forest resources are at serious risk of vanishing because of greedy forest mafia, which has gulped forests for their personal economic gains at the cost of environment.
However, those forest officials, who are foiling illegal tree-cutting bids anywhere in the country should be appreciated and awarded as a part of recognition of their priceless services to the environment.
On this occasion, Marriyum Aurangzeb told the media, “Enemies of the forests are in fact our enemies and of our environment. We together must stop them from chopping down the trees illegally otherwise the day is not far away when Pakistan will be completely denuded of forests, which will aggravate environmental degradation and public health.”
Ms Aurangzeb said she would extend every possible support to the climate change ministry in protecting and conserving the existing forests in the country and increasing the tree cover as much as possible for sustainable living of our present and coming generations and overall environmental development.