Nasir Mehmood (Drosh)
On June 25, Commissioner Malakand Division issued directives to ban all types of deforestation in Chitral. This step of the commissioner is highly appreciable and people of Chitral are grateful to the government for this initiative.
Another important point should be brought into the notice of the public as well as the forest department and the commissioner Malakand Division because it poses serious threat to natural forests of Chitral.
Under the forest rules, only deodar trees and forests are protected while Chitral is a botanically rich area and different types of trees naturally grow in the forest and play an important role in the livelihood of the local community.
Unfortunately, there is no provision in the forest rules to protect these trees except deodar, as a result, these species are at the mercy of wood cutters and wood dealers who supply these trees as fuel in local wood stalls.
Especially in the valley of Arandu, Shishikuh, Ursoon, Jijirat Kohh and Kalash valleys green oak trees are mercilessly cut by fuel wood dealers which is the biggest loss to natural forests.
A large number of vehicles carry these green cutted trees to Chitral and Drosh wood stalls and supply as fuel wood to the people. After cutting the trees, they are either left in the forest till winter season or directly supplied to wood stalls in which they are left till getting dry.
Oak and other species of trees which are not protected under forest rules are at the verge of destruction due to the indifferent attitude of the forest department and government. If this process continues without check then in near future entire green oak forests of Chitral will become barren land and growing of these precious trees again is almost impossible.
In this grim situation, it is requested that immediately cutting of green oak and other species trees must be banned in the forests of Arandu, Shishikuh, Ursoon, Jinjirat Koh, Kalash valleys and rest of the oak forests.
Recent Section 144 must be extended to these forests and district administration should look after implementation of the decision with letter and spirit.
Secondly, the chief conservator of the forest department and the minister for environment and forests are requested to immediately protect these forests under the rule like deodar trees. If oak and other trees are already protected under forest rules it must be implemented with an iron hand.
Local communities of the forest areas are also requested to help the government and forest department for protection of oak and other forests which are our national assets.
The commissioner Malakand Division is again requested to extend Section 144 to cutting of oak forests as well and completely ban cutting of oak and other species in Chitral forests if he wants sustainable resolution of climatic change issues in the area.