MANSEHRA: The frost department has terminated a block officer and five guards after an inquiry declared them culpable of timber smuggling in Siren Valley.
“We have dismissed six officials after an inquiry found them guilty of having links with timber mafia and using the non-residential permits for smuggling of precious woods,” Mudassar Hassan, the divisional forest officer, told journalists on Sunday.
He said that his department had zero tolerance for its officials either harbouring mafias or involved directly or indirectly in timber smuggling. “I have served all five officials with show-cause notices to prove their innocence directly before the inquiry team, but they couldn’t defend them. They have been terminated,” he said.
The DFO said that sacked bloc officer Mohammad Rustam and guards of Domail and Dadar forest checkposts including Mohammad Shujahat, Mohammad Qasim, Sameer Bukht, Safdar Shah and Ahtsham Shah were protecting smugglers to first chop deodar and pines trees and then smuggle them to lower parts of the country.
“Non-residential permits are issued by our department to indigenous owners settled anywhere else for Guzara forests. The sacked employees, hand in glove with smugglers, allow them to smuggle precious woods in excess from Siren forest division to other parts of the country,” said Mr Hassan.
He said that not a single black sheep would be allowed to stay in forest department. “We want to pass on a pollution-free environment to coming generations,” he added.
ARERST: Police claimed to have arrested four electric transformer thieves in Buttle area of the district on Sunday.
They said a police party raided different localities and arrested four persons involved in theft of power transformers. The arrested men were shifted them to Buttle police station.
SHO Ijaz Ali told journalists that arrested men were involved in theft of power transformers after suspending electricity in that specific area. He said that a district police officer constituted a police party, which carried out raids at the hideouts of the accused and arrested them.
Mr Ali said that that crackdown against the power transformers thieves and robbers would continue in the district.
Published in Dawn, September 25th, 2023