LAHORE - The Lahore High Court Wednesday issued notices to federal and Punjab government in a petition seeking direction for protection of forests in the country.

Echo Watch Trust moved the petition through its counsel Barrister Salman Jafree and submitted that the land was losing forest which could result into global warning and climate challenge. The petitioner said that the forests were essential for clean air and oxygen and to keep the planet alive as they play a role of shield against climate change.

He submitted that unfortunately, Pakistan was losing forests sharply due to a number of factors: lack of awareness, exploitation of forest resources for private incentives and ownership among the masses.

He stated that the timber mafia was another factor behind the loss of forest cover. The total area of forests in Pakistan was 4.224 million hectares which was 4.8 per cent of the total land area, whereas this percentage should be more than 25, he added. He also said that the government set up a number of ministries and departments devoted to environment protection but there was no serious effort to save the forests.

“Bad environment is as threatning as terrorism,” said the petitioner, regretting that the governments including the federal and Punjab were doing nothing.

He requested the court to order both the governments to make serious efforts to preserve forests for better environment. After hearing initial arguments, Justice Ayesha A Malik issued notices to the federal and Punjab government and sought replies.

LHC adjourns Hafiz Saeed’s case

The Lahore High Court Wednesday put off until June 19 further proceedings on a petition challenging the detention of Jamatud Dawa’s chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed and his four aides.

A division bench of the LHC took up the matter and postponed the hearing on the request of the government. During the hearing, Punjab Home department told the court that the detention was suggested by federal government. He said that the federal Review Board’s report about extension in detention had already been submitted before this court.

AK Dogar, the counsel for the petitioners, opposed the detention saying that the Review Board had declined the government’s request to give extension. He requested order the release of the petitioners. The bench, after hearing both sides, adjourned further haring until June 19.

On January 28, the Punjab government placed names of Hafiz Saeed, Abdullah Ubaid (Faisalabad), Malik Zafar Iqbal Shahbaz (Markaz Tayyaba Muridke), Abdul Rehman Abid (Markaz Tayyaba Muridke) and Qazi Kashif Hussain of Multan in fourth schedule of Anti Terrorism Act and on February 30 had put them under detention for 90 days.

Earlier, the interior ministry had given recommendation to the Punjab government and intimated it that Jamatud Dawa and Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation were engaged in certain activities which could be prejudicial to peace and security and in violation of Pakistan’s obligations to the United national Security Council Resolution No 1267 and had accordingly placed both organisations in the second schedule of ATA under its section 11-D (1).