Supreme Court takes notice as Margalla Hills threatened by timber mafia

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SC three-member bench took up suo motu notice case on deforestation and blasting at Margalla hills.

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Islamabad’s beauty, character, and majestic Margalla Hills are greatly threatened by human interventions especially timber mafia.

Thankfully, Supreme Court has taken notice of the illegal cutting of trees across Pakistani federal capital Islamabad.

A three-member Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh heard the suo-moto case regarding blasting and cutting of trees at Margalla hills.

Supreme Court asked  the federal government as well as provincial governments of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) to submit reports about measures taken by them to stop blasting and tree felling at Margalla Hills.

During the course of hearing Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed addressed advocate generals that the Punjab and KP governments should respond to the Court and provide the list of those responsible for blasting and cutting of trees on Margalla hills.

Biodiversity specialist Zahid B. Mirza said Margalla Hills National Park, which was established in 1980, spread over approximately 17,386 hectares (67.13 square miles) and had become one of the most popular picnic spots because of Daman-i-Koh and Pir Sohawa.

He said the Margalla Hills National park was rich in biodiversity and home to around 600 plant species, 250 bird varieties, 38 mammals and 13 species of reptiles.

“But the biological diversity of the park is threatened by human interventions and environmentally unfriendly practices. The city management has no check on the misuse of the national park,” he said.

The head of the environmental advocacy and communication section in the ministry, Mohammad Saleem, said environmental protection and climate change mitigation through sustainable use and protection of the natural resources, particularly water, land, animals and forests, were more critical than ever.

“Nearly one-fourth of the country’s population is poor and directly dependent on natural resources for their livelihoods whether agriculture, hunting, forestry or fisheries,” he said.

The court while seeking reports from the federal government, Punjab and KP government has adjourned the hearing of the case for one week.

Sayyar Gul
Sayyar Gul is doing his MS Computational Sciences & Engineering from National University of Science and Technology. He is technology enthusiast with keen interest in new technological developments from around the world.

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