THIS refers to the statement made recently by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa minister for forest and environment that the area under forest is increasing in the province.

If the statement by the minister is analysed in the context of Chitral, it presents a totally different picture. When the government came to power, meagre forest resources of Chitral were being destroyed by the timber mafia having government backing.

The people of Chitral time and again demanded from the government to curb deforestation in the district to control flooding and environmental degradation. But the government functionaries did not pay heed. Instead, they gave a free hand to the timber mafia to play havoc with forest resources.

After a cold-shouldered response from the government, the people of Chitral came out for demonstration in Ayun and other areas so that the remaining forest could be protected from the timber mafia. The district government used force to suppress the people’s genuine demand.I would like to request the minister to visit forests of Kalash valley, Shishikoh, Jinjirat Koh and Arandue to get firs-hand knowledge of the matter.

I have documentary evidence about the timber mafia which is ravaging Chitral’s forest. I can also share this evidence with the minister.

REHMAT ALI Chitral

Updated Aug 18, 2012 02:06am

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