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'Politicians misleading people about deforestation in Kalash valleys'

CHITRAL, May 3: The leaders of joint forest management committees network of Bumburate, Birir, Damil, Arandu and Sheshi Koh have said some political elements in Chitral are crying hoarse about the ruthless cutting of trees which is totally baseless. The government should not pay heed to such people and go forward with its working plan to remove the ageing and wind fallen deodar trees from the forest to the timber market. Addressing a press conference here on Thursday, the leaders Professor Syed Taufiq Jan, Major (retd) Ahmed Saeed, Haji Shifa, Abdul Majid Qureshi and others categorically said no green tree was harvested in the forests. They said under the JFMCs, the local people had been empowered by the forest department to manage and oversee the harvesting activities in the forests while they have also been given the rights of royalty when the timber is extracted from a forest to the market. Criticizing the former MNA from Chitral Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali and former tehsil nazim Shahzada Sikandar for inciting the people against the royalty holders of forest, they said the Supreme Court of Pakistan had already given its verdict in their favour. They asked the apex court to take notice against the residents of Ayun and the political leaders for offense which is tantamount to contempt of court as the timber from the forest of Rumbur is not allowed to be transported to the timber market. The leaders also warned that a clash is imminent between the communities of forest royalty holders and the others if the situation persists and the people of Ayun continued to take the law in their hands. They said that the precious timber of deodar will be devalued and spoiled if it is delayed any more to be transported to the market where it is in high demand. The leaders expressed their resentment over the loss of a huge volume of deodar timber in different forest compartments of the district. They added that the people residing in the high altitude areas flanking forest are suffering from abject poverty as no farming is possible there due to low temperature and they protect the forest at the very risk of their lives which makes them entitled for royalty as given in the Forest Act.–Zahiruddin]]>

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