MANSEHRA, Feb 6 (NP): Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Imran Khan, on Friday announced his provincial government’s war against timber mafia in KPK to save the environment. At a news conference, Khan, whose party rules KPK, announced a Green Policy, pledging to take action against patrons of timber mafia. “Anyone, including any politician, whatever his party affiliation, will be nabbed if found backing timber mafia. PTI acts on its commitments.
We will go for all those linked to timber mafia,” Khan said, speaking to reporters alongside Chief Minister KPK Pervez Khattak. “First time so many senior officials in KP Forest Dept have been arrested by the govt. and several dismissed from service. Timber mafia has devastated KPK by cutting down trees worth over Rs 10 billion in 10 years,” he told reporters. He announced to increase salaries of forest guards and appealed the Peshawar High Court chief justice to cooperate against timber mafia drive.
He said forest guards would be recruited from local people as without cooperation of the local, cutting of trees cannot be stopped. He said there is ban on the cutting of fallen tree while in the private forests, new saplings will have to be planted for cutting of trees. KPK Chief Minister said that tens of thousands of trees were cut during the previous regimes while his government took action against timber mafia. He said during his tenure, he would not allow the cutting of trees from government land.
He said the earnings from the forest would be spent for planting more saplings. Earlier on arrival in Mansehra, Imran was received by chief minister and party leaders. On the occasion he announced everything would be done on merit. He said audit of all the universities in KP is being done. He said if the Vice Chancellor was honest, the functioning of the university would improve.