Mansera- Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan today said, his party has declared war against the timber mafia in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). PTI was committed to environment preservation he added.

Talking to the media at Hazara University, he said timber mafia has illegally cut down trees worth Rs 100 billion in a span of 10 years, which in no way benefitted the locals.

Imran Khan said timber mafia grew powerful because it was backed by the Forest Department. He said it has never happened in the past, that the chief minister of a province has ever taken interest in forest preservation neither any officer has ever been arrested, in charges pertaining to forest conservation.

He further announced that forests from now onwards, would be guarded by the locals themselves and their salaries would be increased. They would also be given due incentives, whereas the fine rate for the offenders would be significantly raised so as to hamper illegal cutting down of trees. Forests are a country’s asset and are imperative for the future, he added.

He informed that countries, internationally, were given carbon points for forestation and funds were received against those carbon points. He said the money received therein would benefit the locals.

Khan requested the Supreme Court not to spare the offenders and let them hide behind stay orders.

Geographic Information System (GIS) will be introduced in the province that would enable us to monitor the forests, he told. Chief Minister KP Pervez Khatak said Green policy has been drafted after a thorough effort of six months that would ensure that the trees were cut under a proper system. He said all the money generated from the forests would benefit natives of the region. He further assured that any authority acting otherwise will not be spared either.