KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Monday suspended till further orders the operation of an administrative letter of the provincial government leasing out 6,300 acres of forest land in Badin and Sujawal districts to a private concern for farming.

A two-judge bench headed by Justice Munib Akhtar also directed the secretary of the forest department, chief conservator, conservator of forests, divisional forest officer and SSP of Badin district to submit comments on the petition filed by MNA Syed Ayaz Ali Shah Shirazi against what he termed illegal allotment of forest land.

The petitioner said the chief minister had approved a summary on May 14 leasing out 6,300 acres of forest land to Badin Agro Development Farm, a private concern.

Subsequently, he said, the chief conservator issued a letter on May 30 leasing out the land to the private concern under the Agro Forestry Lease Policy of Sindh Forest Department for agricultural and fish farm purposes.

MNA Shirazi said the illegally leased out forest land was being used by the poor people living in the surrounding areas as grazing source for their cattle. Besides, he said, the forests on the leased land also produced timber that helped boost the country’s economy.

He stated in the petition that deforestation by allotting forest land to powerful influential persons including M/s Badin Agro Development Farm for agricultural and fish farm purpose would not only displace the poor people and force them to leave the places and livelihood but also cause loss of precious forest land.

The petitioner requested the court to declare illegal the allotment of forest land and suspend the operation of administrative letter leasing out land for farming.

The bench put off the matter to July 23 after preliminary hearing.

Published in Dawn, July 15th, 2014

Opinion

Editorial

China’s concerns
23 Jun, 2024

China’s concerns

Pakistan has no option but to neutralise militant threat to Chinese projects, as well as address its business and political stability concerns.
War drums
23 Jun, 2024

War drums

If it is foolish enough to launch another war in Lebanon, Tel Aviv will be solely responsible for setting the Middle East on fire.
Balochistan budget
23 Jun, 2024

Balochistan budget

BALOCHISTAN’S Rs955.6bn budget for the fiscal year 2024-25 makes many pledges to the poor citizens of Pakistan’s...
Another lynching
Updated 22 Jun, 2024

Another lynching

The chilling alternative to not doing anything — which appears to be the state’s preferred option — is the advent of mob rule.
Tax & representation
22 Jun, 2024

Tax & representation

THE taxation measures outlined in the budget for the incoming fiscal year have triggered a lot of concern among ...
Life of the party?
22 Jun, 2024

Life of the party?

THE launch of Awaam Pakistan, a party led by former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and former finance minister...