ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Climate Change, Senator Mushahidullah Khan has said tree plantation task would be assigned to Pakistan Army.

Talking to senior journalists during a luncheon hosted by the Minister, he said that a new regulatory authority would be established to overcome challenge of climate change, which would also regulate the issues related to environment. He said construction of botanical garden will kick off from January 10 in Bani Gala, spreading over areas of 785 acres.

Mushahidullah claimed that it would be biggest botanical garden of the world, which would be constructed with a cost of Rs 15 billion. He said boundary wall of the garden would be constructed to save it from occupation. He said money would be paid under United Nations Readiness programme  under the supervision of State Bank of Pakistan to those persons who would protect the trees and save them from cutting. He said this money would be paid after measurement of the trees.

To a question, he said that there are forests in Azad Kashmir, KP, G-B and FATA but there is no writ of the government, adding there is writ of Molvies, Khans and Sardars. “We can not wage fight against them so government is mulling to hand over tree plantation task to Pak army”, he said adding the government has decided to resolve climate issues under national security affairs.

Earlier, talking to journalists he said climate change is a big threat to Pakistan. He informed that Pakistan stands at seventh number among top ten climate affected countries. He said it was national issue across the globe, adding the powers were transferred to provinces, which was a wrong decision. He said tree cutting was a crime but no one was concerned over it.  He added Bureaucracy was not fulfilling its responsibilities.
Mushahidullah said that continuous wiping out of trees was posing serious threat to our lives. He said he was helpless but sought cooperation of all to save trees from cutting. He said under the United Nations charter there must be 12% forests over total area of the country but in Pakistan this ratio is 4.9%. He also cast doubts on the facts and figures. He said he was ashamed for representing a country, which occupies less area of forests. 

“We have glaciers, which are great blessings but weather was turning hot due to shortage of trees, which was resulting melting of trees and water reservoirs were diminishing”, he added.  He said if the heed was not paid towards this, the country would become barren.  He said agriculture sector was facing loss worth billions of rupees. He said rain system has badly been affected due to climate change and farmers were worried over this situation.
Federal Minister for Climate Change said that he also wrote letters to different Islamic countries highlighting importance of trees. He said Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) also ordered to protect trees.  He appealed media to take it as a serious issue and a national cause to save future of next generations.  He feared if steps were not taken this lush green country would transform into desert.  Those who filled their wallets from industrial development have no threats from global warming.

He further said Europe used fuel at a greater level for industrial progress, adding the issue was raised in 1980.He said building situated in different cities of Europe had turned black including London but we are facing outcome of this use. “We have best sea and coastal line and were cutting mangroves to populate it”, he said, adding the sea aquatic species lay eggs in these mangroves”, he added. He warned that our sea would get drain from these species.

“We are hunting turtles ruthlessly and selling out while these are big sources to eradicate illness in waters”, he added. He said if there was truth in planting 1.18 billion trees then there would be snowing. Citing a Chinese city where 900 million trees were planted, he said prior to planting of tree it was desert but now there is cold.

Mushahidullah lauded services of Secretary KP, Nazar Shah, saying he works with diligence. He said after shifting powers to provinces after passage of 18th amendment , we can only form policies or coordination. He said provinces have to work, which are working.
Giving example of Rawal Dam, he said there was so much filth that neither one should drink water from it nor eat fish.  He said residents of Rawalpindi are drinking water of Rawal dam. We have to plant saplings on emergency basis as these have the power to halt floods for seventy two hours, he added. He proposed that if the wood was Imported then the massacre of trees would stop automatically.