STAFF REPORT IBD: The recent hike in illegal cutting of tree started after a controversial notification by former Prime Minister, Pervaiz Ashraf under which authorities allowed to dispose of 4 million cubic feet of felled timber already cut legally or illegally in district Diamer of Gilgit Baltistan.
The controversial lifting of decades old ban on transportation of felled timber has provided an opportunity to timber mafia to chop more trees in the area.
Environmentalists fear that this illegal practice would encourage deforestation in the area which would cause more environment degradation.
In a recent forum discussion, Dr. Fakhar-i-Abbas, Executive Director, Bioresource Research Centre (BRC), Kanwar Muhammad Javed Iqbal, Senior Policy Researcher at SDPI, and other civil society representatives commended the efforts of local community activists for defending the case of environment in particular and civil society at large on continuous basis.
Kanwar declared the situation of non-compliance of Prime Ministers order as worst case in the history of Pakistan for which the incumbent government took strong notice of the situation, and Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif issued an order to immediately put a ban on cutting and transportation of trees in GB.
But unfortunately, the order went un-implemented and not took seriously even by forest authorities and law enforcement agencies.