The recurring incidents of the deliberate torching of the Margalla hills is a case of vandalism that portrays a disdain of the natural environment by the ignorant masses, a state of mind that mirrors our establishments disdain for any policy that safeguards our natural habitat.

The loss of a myriad of species of trees and groundcover will take decades to restore. The damage to wildlife and the overall forest ecosystem comes at a time of scorching temperatures which further aggravates remediation initiatives. The Margalla Hills National Park has been the site of multiple such incidents of arson causing irreparable environmental damage. With a tree cover of such contiguity, such forest fires run the hazard of spiraling out of control, resulting to loss of lives, extending to adjacent villages and residences.

The recurrent vandalism points at a larger social issue of individuals seeking a vendetta against the curbs set by forest authorities and the CDA. Where the perpetrators are thought to be members of malevolent timber mafia and hunters as retribution for the challenges officials pose to their activities in the park, or firefighters themselves who have been denied jobs despite having political recommendations, the blaze is a manifestation of societal vengeance under which nature is ravaged.

The fact remains that despite resources and preemptive information, the authorities were unable to prevent the incident form happening or apprehend the perpetrators. Where the protests by environmental activists and residents can help bring such issues to the fore, it is the government that needs to initiate programs to prevent and remediate such irreversible damage, instead of promoting development programs that leave natural forests razed in their wake. Where check-dams should be installed and more trees should be planted to recover the loss, it is essential that the perpetrators are caught and punished to deter future impunity of nature.

The fires had deliberate causes yet the authorities refused to remediate it until 10mdays after the fire broke out which points at the severe lax of environmental concern on the part of city officials. Ultimately, the government needs to adopt a clearer and firmer stance on environmental degradation and damage. Where resolute policies need to be in place to tackle environmental issues, it crucial that the government disseminates environmental awareness campaigns which inculcate the public with respect and awareness about nature and our finite resources. Suffering rising temperatures testifying to global warming, and at the precipice of a water crisis, Pakistan needs to make an immediate effort at preserving and expanding its forest cover before it is too late.