ISLAMABAD: Chief spokesperson for the federal government, Information Minister Senator Pervez Rashid, expressed doubts regarding PTI chairperson Imran Khan’s claim that 100 million saplings were planted in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
In response, PTI spokesperson Dr Shireen Mazari criticised Mr Rashid saying: “Unfortunately, PML-N cannot think beyond concretised projects like the metro or the Orange Line, which threatens to destroy the nation’s rich cultural heritage.”
The clash raises the question: does locking horns over trivial issues such as tree planting have something to do with the parties’ eternally confrontational mode of politics or is it just criticism for criticism’s sake?
Spokesperson claims PTI aims to protect future generations from climate change while PML-N cannot see past ‘concretised projects’
Mr Rashid on Thursday called PTI’s ongoing tree plantation campaign an “addition to [Imran Khan’s] false claims”. He said: “Either there was no existence of these trees, or the resources of the KP government were being plundered under the garb of ‘100 million trees’.”
Dr Mazari, in her response on Friday, recalled the ruling part’s reported failure in the Nandipur power project and the prime minister’s uninspiring speech at the recent climate change conference in Paris.
She said that if the minister was interested in the reality on the ground, he could ask the KP government to take him to the tree plantation sites, and see the Billion Tree Tsunami project for himself. “After all, it is not fake like the Nandipur project,” she said.
She claimed that the federal government had no vision for conservation and the future to protect future generations from a blighted environment.
She said that the senator should realise that the KP government was the only one with a vision of the future, through environment protection and action against climate change.
“While Prime Minister Sharif had no concrete specific proposal to put up at the Climate Change Conference in Paris, PTI’s Amin Aslam gave a presentation on the Billion Tree Tsunami project at the pavilion of the IUCN in Paris as part of the Climate Change Conference.”
She said that it was Mr Rashid’s job as a federal minister to be aware of the positive things taking place within the country, rather than consistently playing negative politics.
She also invited Mr Rashid to visit the PTI-led KP government.
“Pakistan is among the top countries suffering the adverse impact of climate change and it is only the KP government that is trying to alleviate that impact through its Green Growth Initiative of which the Billion Tree Tsunami is one project.”
Published in Dawn, December 5th, 2015