MIRPUR (AJK) -AJK President Sardar Masood Khan urged the people to plant maximum trees to reduce negative impacts of climate change and to protect the environment.

Talking to newsmen after inaugurating tree plantation drive by planting a sapling in the lawn of President House, he said that drastic climate changes taking place at global level in general and Pakistan in particular are a matter of great concern.

“AJK once famous for its beautiful green forests is increasingly facing deforestation for different reasons. It is high time to plant more trees to keep the beauty of the area intact and to combat the climate changes, the president said.

He said that depletion of forests not only causes devastating floods, droughts and famine but also creates serious environmental and health problems, Sardar Masood Khan said trees are crucial for the health and wellbeing of people and wildlife. He said it is our national duty to plant maximum trees on one hand and conserve the existing forests on the other to prevent impending disasters.

The president further said people should turn to alternate sources of energy and must avoid cutting of trees to use them as fuel.

He went on to say that government can assist people of remote areas like Neelum Valley to use liquid petroleum gas (LPG) in place of forest wood to save the precious forests of the area.

President Khan also stressed upon media, social organisations and civil society to sensitise the people by creating awareness about the importance of forests.

Later, Secretary Forests, Syed Zahoorul Hassan Gillani called on President and apprised him that 27 percent area of Azad Jammu and Kashmir was under the thick forests. Last year tree plantation was done on 38,000 acres of land at a cost of Rs 16 million, he said.

He told the president that last year’s tree plantation at massive scale was done with the help of communities and financial assistance from Flood Emergency Resilience Response Project (FERP). This year plantation will be done on additional 6000 acres while a Rs140 million has been allocated for the purpose, the secretary said.

He said that Forests Department has also started construction of a recreational project at Brura (Zamin Abad) located along the Muzaffarabad- Kohala Road. The forest project will have small zoo, park and cafeteria where 3.6 million trees will be planted.

The Forests Department will also collaborate with the armed forces of the country in their tree plantation drive at eight different areas of Azad Kashmir by providing around half million saplings. The AJK also sought cooperation from the provinces of Pakistan in different fields.

BZU joins Green Pakistan drive

MULTAN-Vice Chancellor, Bahauddin Zakariya University (BZU), Prof Dr Tahir Ameen declared on Wednesday that over 1,000 saplings would be planted in BZU campus which would make already green campus further greener.

Talking to the media after planting a palm sapling here at Hajra Hall of the varsity, he said that the Pakistan Army has launched a drive to turn Pakistan green and BZU has joined hands with the army. He said that the varsity campus is already green but this new addition would further improve the environment and control pollution.

Registrar Dr Umar Chaudhry said that pollution could be brought down considerably if each student plant one sapling. He warned that the coming generations would have to face dire consequences if we committed negligence at this stage. He stressed upon the students to take part in plantation drive and play their part in turning the country green.

Chairman of Islamic Studies Department, Dr Abdul Qudoos Sohaib said that Islam gives clear instructions for plantation. “So, we need to do plantation as a national and religious obligation,” he stressed.

Chairman, Agronomy Department, Dr Nazim Hussain Labar said that we needed to plant trees in proportion with our population as it was the only way to prevent our coming generations from the wrath of intense weather.

Meanwhile, talking to the media, the Deputy Commissioner Multan Mudassar Riaz said that plantation was underway in Multan district under Go Green Multan drive and about 100,000 saplings were planted during independence celebrations. He said that a follow up strategy had also been evolved to look after the sapling after their plantation. He hoped that the strategy would work and the saplings would grow into trees.

He said that the district administration planted saplings at important points, educational institutions, public departments and hospitals to turn Multan green. He said that the Parks and Horticulture Authority and Forest Department were given task to turn roadsides and Qila Qasim Bagh green.