ISLAMABAD - Although Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) seems to be at odds with the federal government on many political issues, its Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government seems to be in harmony with Islamabad at least on one issue.
The rise in mercury has forced PTI-led KP government and Islamabad administration to work in close coordination with each other and launch joint patrolling teams to save Margalla Hills from catching fire.
Although the temperature in political landscape of country is on the rise with Imran Khan extending his protest rallies to different cities in Punjab, the administration of KP, Punjab and Islamabad are making strategies to control forest fire due the surge in mercury level.
The KP government, capital development authority (CDA) and authorities in Punjab have agreed to patrol Margalla Hills and coordinate with one another in case fire is detected in Punjab and Hazara areas of Margalla Hills.
In what seems to be a collective responsibility, a common fire control station has been established where the attendants would be informed by both KP and Punjab governments in emergency situation, besides making awareness among villagers and tourists not to throw live cigarettes in forest areas.
A statement issued here by CDA said that the three administrations would work jointly to preserve forest in Margalla Hills as temperature in the country is shooting up. The KP government has a greater responsibility to look after the forest, as the hilly area in Galgiat range is very close to Murree while a major portion of Margalla Hills lies near Islamabad from Haripur side.
"In the prevailing political situation I think we are in close coordination on administrative point of view. We work for the safety of Margalla Hills above political lines," an official of Punjab Forest Department told The Nation Monday.
He said Chief Minister KP Pervez Khattak had directed his administration to enhance coordination with Punjab and Islamabad administrations in order to save the hills from catching fire and discourage elements that could pose potential threat to the forest range.
Chairman CDA Maroof Afzal has also finalised standing operating procedures (SOPs) for forest fire control including fire prevention measures, establishment of control room, joint patrolling with KP forest officials and aerial fire control.
Patrolling of frequently visited spots such as Daman-e-Koh, Pir Sohawa, trails and picnic spots and regularly watching and instructing visitors not to throw burning cigarettes and matchsticks or make any fire have been agreed upon between the three administrations.
According to a CDA official, the move was a welcome and much-needed development as Margalla Hills have always caught fire due to poor coordination among the provincial authorities and Islamabad administration.