CHITRAL: The people from the forested areas of Chitral on Sunday protested against the ban on the transportation of the harvested timber out of the district. They asked the government to lift the ban within two weeks or they would forcibly stop shipment of fuel wood to other parts of the country.
People from Sheshi Koh, Ashrait, Arandu, Domil and Kalash valleys participated in the protest demonstration held in Drosh bazaar.
Leaders of the protest, including Major (retd) Qazi Ahmed Said, Haji Anzar Gul, Haji Shafa, Sher Mohammad, Haji Sher Zamin and others, warned of going to any extent if their demand was not met. They said that the people had no other source of income and they depended on the sale of the harvested timber.
The protesters said the government had recognised their right in 1970s making them entitled to the 60 per cent of the royalty.
They said that for the sustainable use of forest resources and check the illegal cutting of trees, the government had introduced joint forest management committees (JFMCs).
In the presence of JFMCs, no illegal cutting of trees was possible, said the protesters, rejecting the allegation of ruthless cutting of trees in Chitral.
They also condemned the allegation of the special assistant to the chief minister regarding the illegal cutting of a large volume of timber in Chitral forests and said that timber lying in different depots of the district had been harvested in legal ways and as per the working plan. The protesters were also addressed by JI local emir Maghfirat Shah and JUI emir Qari Abdur Rahman Qureshi.
Published in Dawn, April 6th, 2015