Imran Khan talks to mediapersons in Lakki Marwat on Wednesday. — Dawn
Imran Khan talks to mediapersons in Lakki Marwat on Wednesday. — Dawn

BANNU/LAKKI MARWAT: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan has said the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has planted 800 million saplings as part of the billion tree tsunami project launched in the province last year to counter the threats of global warming and promote local economy through preservation of forests.

“Our government has retrieved 60,000 acres of official land from the illegal occupants and has preserved forests. We have also rid the forests of the timber mafia the benefits of which will go to our next generations,” Imran told reporters at Bharti Machankhel area of Bannu and Tortala village in Lakki Marwat on Wednesday. He was there in connection with launch of tree plantation drives.

Mr Khan said the tree plantation programme would make the environment clean and ensure better health of people. He said the provincial government had been taking to task those who tried to cut forests illegally to preserve trees for the safe future of people.

It was the biggest ever programme in the country which seeks to plant one billion trees in the province, he claimed.

“The project also employed 500,000 people, thus contributing to economic revival and development of the province,” Imran said.

The PTI chairman asked for immediate merger of Fata with KP and said the latter lagged behind from other provinces in development. The tribal population has suffered in the past because they lacked voice in the KP Assembly, he added.

Our party fully supports merger of Fata with KP, he said, and added: “Our struggle for making Fata part of KP will continue because we believe it would lead to prosperity of the tribesmen who have suffered in the past.”

After merger, the tribal people will get representation also in the KP assembly where they could highlight their problems, Imran said.

He said politics of Maulana Fazl Rehman had become story of the past and said he couldn’t befool the tribal people anymore.

The PTI government, he said had brought improvement in police, health and education sectors.

The PTI chief was given briefing about the plantation sites established under the billion tree project in Lakki Marwat district.

Imran said Pakistan ranked 7th among the world countries vulnerable to climate change and global warming as a result of rapid melting of glaciers, and called for efforts to make the environment free from pollution.

“Our prime focus is to increase timberlands under the project as our future is linked to it and it will help reduce global warming,” he stressed.

He said Shaikh Badin (a mountainous top located on the border between Lakki Marwat and DI Khan districts) had been declared a national park and it would be converted into a holiday resort to promote tourism in southern districts.

Published in Dawn, March 16th, 2017

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