PTI Chitral chief trying to get Rs40m penalty waived

ISLAMABAD, June 12: On June 7, Fazal Elahi, the PTI member of the KP assembly and parliamentary secretary for forests and environment, visited Chitral and announced the provincial government’s decision to abolish all the joint forest management committees (JFMC) in the district.

Environment activists and the citizens at large welcomed the move and termed it a right decision towards the preservation of forests and tightening the noose around the timber mafia in the valley.

But an official letter received by ChitralToday from its sources showed not only the government’s lackadaisical approach towards the issue of deforestation but also made it clear how politically influential people were hands in glove with the timber mafia.

According to the letter, PTI Chitral president Abdul Latif, who also contested the general election 2013 for the National Assembly seat (NA-24), was fined an amount of more than Rs40 million for allegedly cutting green trees in the Kalash valley.

The letter issued by the deputy forest manager Chitral on August 8, 2013, stated: “A contract for harvesting 1,185 dry/standing and windfall trees measuring 90,399 cubic feet (cft) marked in the Acholgah compartment No 9 & 10 was awarded to Mr. Abdul Latif, son of Gul Sambar Khan, a resident of Oweer Nichagh, Tehsil Mastuj, district Chitral, under an agreement signed by him with the FDC dated 16-01-2010.”

Accordingly, the letter added, “the work order was issued to Mr Abdul Latif for harvesting the marked trees vide Deputy Forest Manager Chitral’s letter No. 1680 dated 15-6-2010 after fulfillment of the codal formalities.” The work contractor started harvesting operations in the lot during the month of May, 2010, it said.

“On 9-06-2010, a committee consisting of officers of the Forest Development and FDC inspected FDC Lot No. 637/M (Achulgah compartment No. 9 &10) along with Mr. Noor Shahideen, the then chairman of the joint forest management committee (JFMC), Achulgah forest.” During the inspection of the lot, the following illicit damage to the unmarked green trees was observed in the Achulgah compartment No. 9: Species            

No of trees                 Volume (cft) Deodar                 138                                18,539 Kail                        01                                 107 F/S                        02                                 108 ———————————————————————Total                    141                               18754 Accordingly, a show-cause notice was issued to the work contractor vide DFM Chitral letter No. 2637 dated 24-06-2013, followed by a reminder (No. 13 dated 1-7-2013).

The reply from the work contractor was examined and consequently found unsatisfactory.

“Therefore, the work contractor was held liable to punitive action under clause 22(c) of the agreement executed by him with FDC.”

It added: “Thus by invoking clause-22(c) of the agreement, the penalty of Rs.41343240/- imposed by the conservator of Forest Malakand (west) forest circle at Timergara vide his office order No.07 dated 31-7-2013 is hereby transferred to/imposed on Mr. Abdul Latif S/O Gul Smabar Khan R/O Oweer Nichagh, Tehsil Mastuj, District Chitral (work contractor for FDC Lot No. 637/M).” The above penalty is recoverable from work bills, security deposits or as arrears of land revenue of the said work contractor as per provision of the agreement executed by him with FDC, the document added.

However, when ChitralToday contacted Mr Abdul Latif, he said he had sublet the contract to Haji Muhammad Khan. He said the inspection report was prepared through the JFMC head Noor Shahideen who had some grudge with Haji Muhammad Khan and tried to settle an old  score with him.

Mr Latif said he had challenged the penalty in a civil court of Chitral where it was under adjudication. Talking to ChitralToday, Haji Muhammad Khan said after a kidnapping and murder incident in the forest area, the harvesting of wood there was stopped during which some people from the Kalash valley cut the green trees and later tried to involve him in it.

Sources said that MPA Fouzia Bibi of the PTI had been tasked by the local leadership to approach the  high government functionaries and get the penalty on Mr Latif waived or at least substantially reduced. However, Ms Fouzia in a text message to ChitralToday stated: “I am very responsible (person). If someone is involved in illegal work, even my party member, I would never support him on any cost.”

The sources said the parliamentary secretary on forests, Fazal Elahi, had planned to make a surprise visit to Chitral after receiving public complaints about the rampant cutting of trees in the valley but the timber mafia got the news of his arrival in Chitral well in advance. When Mr Elahi reached Drosh and came to the venue of a meeting with the citizens at the rest house, most of the participants were from Arandu, Shishi Koh and Ashiret who were involved in the timber ‘business’  or had links with the timber mafia.

The sources said when the  parliamentary secretary announced to abolish the JFMCs across Chitral, the PTI local leaders tried their best to persuade him to withdraw the decision but to no avail.

The PTI Chitral president, Abdul Latif, was however,  in Peshawar at that time. Irrespective of the outcome of the case, many residents of Chitral are of the view that the mere imposition of the huge penalty on Mr Latif showed that the cupboard of the PTI, which came to power in KP on the slogan of  a change and fighting corruption, was not free from skeletons at least in Chitral.

11 Replies to “PTI Chitral chief trying to get Rs40m penalty waived”

  1. After admission of Mr. Abdul Latif that he had already sub-let the contract of harvesting to Haji Mhammad Khan it has been established that Mr. Abdul Latif is also member of timber mafia and he definitely support his group (timber mafia) rather than solving problem of Chitral in the corridor of power at provincial level. We request Imran Khan and central leadership of PTI to take action against the district President of PTI who is involved in illicit timber business otherwise credibility of PTI at provincial and national level further tarnished. Next district president of PTI should be elected through inter-party voting in transparent manner. At least Mr. Abdul Latif has lost his credibility and image, although he might earned a lot of money from timber business which is regarded the most profitable one.

  2. All the black sheep should be kicked out from the PTI. The time has come the local leadership is handed over to MPA Fozia Bibi as she is an honest lady and can do far better compared to her male counterparts.
    The problem with her is that she is unable to take decisions on her own as she is quite new in politics. She is under immense pressure from the local PTI leadership and that could be judged from the report where she had been accused of running between one office to another to waive off the fine imposed on the PTI Chitral president for illegally cutting the threes.
    I would like to tell Fozia Bibi not to listen to the opportunist who are bent upon blackmailing people in the name of jobs, change, justice, and what not. With the recent story published in ChitralToday, the so-called champions of justice have been exposed.
    Fozia must know that she is now a member of the provincial assembly and nobody can unseat her and she must not come under any sort of influence, pressure, etc. If she acted as a subordinate to anyone in the party, she would have no political future.
    I am not very fond of Saleem Khan but I must give his example as he also started off his political career the way Ms Fouzia did. Call it a luck, favour or blessing in disguise but make sure that you are member provincial assembly. And Lateef, Sajjad or anybody else has nothing to do with it and also be grateful to Allah almighty only for whatever you are today.
    When Saleem Khan was given a chance in politics, he sidelined all old party guards and made himself the district president of the party and now he rules the roost.
    Another thing which Saleem Khan did was that he made illegal wealth by selling out jobs when he was provincial minister for population welfare. But we do not want Ms Fouzia to go for corruption as most of your seniors will certainly instigate you to make corrupt money.
    Be brave and prove yourself that you are the representative of Chitrali people. Try to create a lobby of honest people as there are also good leaders within PTI.
    You should have the quality of a leader and not a boot polisher as majority of Chitrali leaders could be seen standing behind a public servant like IG police; a tiny deputy commissioner is being invited as chief guest while an MNA could be seen clapping behind. Disgusting, shameful…!
    I would also like to warn you that if you failed to act upon all these advices, you will be searching for jobs after five years either with SRSP, NCHD, AKRSP or with any other NGO, mourning for all the blunders which you are going to commit during your five-year tenure as MPA. Lady, wake up from the deep slumber or it will be too late.

  3. PTI walon ka forest k bare mein dawe mahz CHOR MACHAI SHOR wali baat hai. Aae dekhte hein ki PTI ki leadership Latif k khilaf kia action leti hai.

  4. I myself have seen truck with full of timber carrying through lawari top to down areas of the country. Here i would like to add that not only the only influntiel politicians are invovled but also the head of the heads of law and enforcement are not clean and neat. They make their transfer here and shifting furnitures, constrution woods to their homes outside of Chitral. You will find many scout carpentors in the contonmant. What are they for? Dont you think about the former DCO was involved in this lucrative business? How did he make luxurious house on the right bank of Balach which was not only troublesome for PIA staff but also for the lives of Chitralis. Who cares? Theives are brothers whether they are politicians or from civil society..

  5. Given her apolitical background, Bibi Fozia is reportedly under immense pressure from so-called PTI leaders like Abdul Lateef, Sajjad, etc. to do their illegal works which they have been doing and getting money from innocent people. The senior PTI leadership must remove these black sheep from the party or else the PTI has no future in Chitral.

  6. I will not comment for the time being. Let us wait and see how the decision of abolishing JFMCs works, and how the new committees are formed. We will also see to what extent the forest department is serious in its claims of ‘fair play’. Let us see what happens next. We have lots of evidences: pictures and video clips of unchecked deforestation, interviews of locals/witnesses etc simply the evidences of the mysterious game behind all this. Let the one side of the picture be clear, only then we will come up with a disturbing documentary film on the ‘other side of the picture’. The documentary film is ready with us, by the way.

    1. Time has come our firebrand MPA Sardar Hussain played his role as he had been talking tall about the timber mafia before winning the elections. He spared nobody in Chitral who is not involved in timber smuggling. Now he has become member of the provincial assembly and let’s see how he exposes the timber mafia. I would like to make it clear that if Sardar Hussain failed to raise the issue of the PTI leader’s involvement in timber smuggling on the floor of KP assembly, he will himself be accused of being hands in glove with the timber smugglers. This is a test case for Sardar Hussain as he has failed to represent the people of upper Chitral during KP Inspector Genera of Police Nasir Khan Durrani’s visit to Chitral by standing behind him like a tiny police officer.
      With the Rs4 crore penalty on the PTI district president, MPA Fozia Bibi must stand up and inform Imran Khan about all the bad things the local PTI leadership are into. I have heard that some local leaders of the PTI are trying to pressurize the lady MPA, giving the impression as they have elevated her to the coveted slot of MPA against the seats reserved for women. We would strongly recommend PTI chairman Imran Khan to fully empower Bibi Fozia and appoint her as the district president for PTI as it will be a step forward towards women empowerment in the district.

  7. Fauzia Bibi denial to support Latif is a great decision. We expect more such a good decision from Fauzia Sahiba on the line of PTI manifesto

  8. Its not more then allegation PTI supportss Mr.Latif . Latif was invovled much before the PTI regime, we have not witnessed any pti official involvement in any corruption, or supporting any one from the manace. They are entirely working on the right way to eliminate the corruption from its rote. Its not goid to defamenparty for personel misdeed of any worker. As a whole all hiups are sincere for tha main a cause of elimination of corruption

  9. Those who are in politics only to secure their business interests should be discouraged. PTI should take disciplinary action against it’s president for making money from deforestation which goes directly against PTI manifesto. MPA Fauzia Bibi deserves appreciation for not supporting illegal activity of her party president.

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