ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said that the government is according top priority to the environment protection through a massive programme to protect diversity of 12 natural ecological zones of the country.

Addressing the inaugural session of the three-day Asian Regional Conservative Forum of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) here, the Prime Minister said Pakistan is a diverse country having twelve ecological zones from desert to Himalayan forests which are rare in the world.

He, however, said that the population growth and the lack of interest for protection of environment in the past adversely affected country’s wildlife and forests.

He said that main target of the government is to make Pakistan green and preserve wildlife in its natural forests, alps and deserts, adding that protecting planet was the biggest service to humanity by making it liveable for future generations.

Imran Khan said that the PTI government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was the first government which took the first major step to deal with the climate change by launching the Billion Tree Tsunami project which included cleaning of rivers and air and waste disposal system.

Says main target is to make Pakistan green

The Prime Minister said that Pakistan’s northern areas exuded unmatched scenic beauty in the world, however regretted that timber mafia under patronage of politicians wreaked havoc with natural environment.

He said that strict action was taken against such mafia by the provincial government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf to check ruthless cutting of forests.

He said the magic formula of the success of this initiative was that local people including women were involved besides action was taken action against the timber mafia.

Imran Khan said the federal government of PTI has now embarked upon an ambitious plan of planting ten billion trees. He said this year we will launch massive tree plantation drives across the country as the necessary planning and infrastructure including nurseries have been developed in the first year.

He said that the youth will drive this massive campaign. He said the environment protection will also be made part of syllabus.

The Prime Minister said the government has also started another campaign under which vertical buildings will be constructed in the cities. 

He said the town planners need to be more conscious of environment protection.

He regretted that seventy percent of trees in Lahore were cut off in ten years which has made it one of the most polluted cities.

The Prime Minister also regretted the US’s decision to pull out of the Paris accord.

In his address Adviser to PM on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam said that his ministry would carry out a five-point agenda including 10 billion tree tsunami, banning single-use plastic ban, Clean Green Index to change behaviour on waste management, Electric Vehicle Policy and Recharge Pakistan project on ecosystem restoration.

He stressed engagement of community particularly youth and women to promote the cause environmental protection.

Speaking on the occasion IUCN Asia Acting Director General Grethel Aguilar and IUCN Asia Regional Director Aban Marker Kabraji hailed the government for launching ten billion tree tsunami projects.

He said he is also impressed with the forestation that took place in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa over the last five years.

He appreciated the mission and passion of Prime Minister Imran Khan to address the issue of climate change.

The Chinese side agreed to consider it in the next JWG meeting.

Both sides agreed to deliberate the projects of 359 km Gilgit-Shandoor-Chitral Road, 200 km Mirpure-Muzaffarabad-Mansehra (MMM) and 290 km Nokundi-Mashkel-Panjgur Road at the 8th JWG on Transport and Infrastructure.

Both sides agreed on all weather opening of KKH at Khunjerab.

The JCC agreed that new projects of Swat Expressway Phase-II and Peshawar-DI Khan Motorway will be deliberated in the JWG.