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PM Khan kicks off tree plantation drive at Nankana Sahib, vows to protect Pakistan's forests

Updated February 09, 2019

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The prime minister planted a sapling at Balloki, where he was also briefed about the tree plantation drive. —PID
The prime minister planted a sapling at Balloki, where he was also briefed about the tree plantation drive. —PID
Prime Minister Khan says forest land leased in Punjab should be retrieved and protected at all costs. —PID
Prime Minister Khan says forest land leased in Punjab should be retrieved and protected at all costs. —PID

Prime Minister Imran Khan, while launching a spring tree plantation campaign at Balloki, Nankana Sahib on Saturday, said that Pakistan's forests would be protected at all costs.

The prime minister planted a sapling at Balloki, where he was also briefed about the tree plantation drive.

Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister Khan said that forest land leased out in Punjab should be retrieved, noting that forest cover in Pakistan is already very low as compared to the rest of the countries in the region.

He pointed out that there used to be large forests in Chichawatni, Mianwali and Changa Manga, which have all but disappeared now.

Speaking about the alarming rate at which Pakistan's forests have been depleted, he said that Pakistan's forests should be protected at any cost.

"70 per cent of Pakistan's forests have been cut down in the past few years, which has created an imbalance in our environment," Prime Minister Khan said.

"We are now going to allow builders to build higher buildings just so our cities can stop expanding [horizontally] and encroaching on our forests," he said, adding that the health of Pakistan's elderly population, as well as of children, is continuously declining "since the air we breath is getting more and more contaminated."

"Our children do not have parks to play in anymore; all of those places have been taken over by concrete and cement, this needs to stop," the prime minister said while stressing the need for rehabilitation of forests.

While addressing the crowd, Prime Minister Khan announced that his government will also create a wildlife reserve under Baba Guru Nanak's name and that Nankana Sahib will also become home to the Baba Guru Nanak university.

Doing NRO is tantamount to treason, says PM Khan

“These days, there has been a lot of discussion about NRO. What is NRO? It is about forgiving convicts —not just small convicts but the big ones,” the premier said, adding that the NRO has twice caused historical damage to the country.

Because of the two NROs, one favouring Nawaz Sharif and the other benefitting Zardari, “those in power felt that it was okay to steal and do as much corruption as you want”, Khan said.

Whoever thinks that the PTI government will give anyone an NRO, they should realise that doing any such deal will be tantamount to high treason, Imran Khan said.

“We will not leave and forget anyone who has looted the country,” he said. It is happening for the first time in a democratic setup that a “man comes from jail and becomes the chairman of parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman and then summons the accountability watchdog [which has arrested him]”.

“We have tried our best to let the parliament function in a peaceful manner, but no more compromises will be made with any other ‘corrupt’ person,” the prime minister said.

Imran clarified that the sitting government did not differentiate between its own minister and leaders of the other parties when it comes to accountability against corruption.