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Good news that COAS stands by democracy, Imran says after meeting Gen Bajwa

Updated Apr 01, 2017 06:52pm
— DawnNews

Hours after the military tweeted about a meeting between the two, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan said on Saturday that Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa "stands by democracy".

He was speaking at an event about PTI's Billion Tree Tsunami project.

"The only thing I would like to say about the meeting is that the good news is that the army chief stands by democracy," Mr Khan said.

Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Maryam Aurangzeb termed the meeting as a positive development.

"It is a good step by Imran Khan and his approach towards integration is welcome," said the minister.

She added Imran should meet continue meeting stakeholders as the province of KP suffers from terrorism a refugee problem.

Social media was abuzz last night after Director General Inter-Services Public Relations Major General Asif Ghafoor tweeted about the meeting saying:

Many Twitter users interpreted the news of the meeting as having a greater meaning while the country awaits the Supreme Court's verdict in the high-profile Panama Papers case embroiling the family of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

While some dubbed the development as a "silent message", others questioned the capacity in which Mr. Khan met the head of the military.

While the ISPR provided no details about it, PTI's media cell said the hour-long meeting focused on national integrity and security. Discussions were also held on conditions prevailing in the region.

The army chief and the PTI chairman also discussed repatriation of Afghan refugees and the recent wave of terror attacks, added the political party's media cell.

Although the event was held to discuss his party's climate change initiative, Mr Khan was promptly asked a question about his meeting yesterday. He responded saying with a smile, "If I respond to this in detail, the headlines will be dominated by this and no one will talk about climate change."

'KP government has a hands-on approach against climate change'

“I am happy that the Khyber Pukhtunkhawa government has taken up this momentous task of dealing with climate change and has taken a hands-on approach towards it,” Mr Khan said while discussing the measures KP government is taking to protect its forests from the timber mafia.

Discussing the billion-tree project Mr Khan said, "I know it is hard to trust our statistics after the government regularly lies to you, but I can assure you the project will end by the end of 2017 and one billion trees will have been prated by that time."

Discussing the impact of climate change Mr Khan said that Pakistan has remained oblivious to this threat for a long time and the project, in the long run, will have a positive impact on the generations to come.

The Billion Tree Tsunami involves adding trees both by planting and natural regeneration all over KP.

It aims to turn around deforestation and increase the province's forested area by at least 2pc.

Years of tree felling have reduced Pakistan's forests to under 2pc of its land area, one of the lowest levels in the region, according to a 2015 UN Food and Agriculture Organisation report.

About 40pc of the country's remaining forests are in KP and in preparation for the reforestation effort, the provincial government helped set up a network of tree nurseries across the province in 2016, providing loans and purchase agreements for tree saplings.