Islamabad - Federal Minister for Climate Change Senator Mushahidullah Khan on Thursday said that a botanical garden would be set up in the federal capital to help protect biodiversity and nature.

The minister was inaugurating construction of boundary wall of South Asia’s first zoo botanical garden.  The construction work on the boundary wall on 785 acre of land with the cost of the Rs100 million would be completed at the earliest, he said.

A botanical garden is a place dedicated to collection, cultivation and display of a wide range of plants labelled with their botanical names. The idea of the zoo-cum-botanical garden was first incorporated in the master plan of Islamabad in 1968 and subsequently, a land measuring 583 acres situated in four revenue estates of Mohra Noor, Phulgran, Atthal and Mallot was allocated to the Zoological Survey of Pakistan in 1989.

Mushahidullah Khan said that biodiversity was very important for the country’s economy and social development and survival of human beings. “There are many benefits attached with the biodiversity at national level along international advantages. The protection of biodiversity must be priority in the countries like Pakistan where social and economic development can play important role in elimination of poverty,” he added.

He said, “We need collective efforts to deal with climatic changes and keep balance in the country environment.” He added that Zoological survey of Pakistan was playing an active role despite having limited resources. He said that objective of the boundary wall was to protect the land from encroachers, adding that the project would also help create awareness and educate the people about the importance of greenery.

The minister said that indigenous plant species would be planted in the garden, inviting the corporate sector to join hands with the ministry in this regard. He vowed to increase the country’s forest cover from five to 12 per cent in the coming years, and urged the public and private sectors to join the ministry’s efforts to achieve the task in an effective manner.