Leg pulling is not a positive sign but when it involves a national park it becomes more hazardous. These days Chitral Gol National Park is in controversy among the local community, KP wildlife department, Ministry of Climate Change and the inspector general forests Islamabad.
Due to the leg pulling and mudslinging, the endowment fund created for the management of the protected area has been blocked for the past three years and the custodian community has been deprived of its right to manage the watch and guard system in their national park. Established in 1984, Chitral Gol National Park consists of a vast and wide area of 77 square kilometers. United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Global Environment Facility (GEF) provided financial and technical support to the local community for park management. This includes an endowment fund under the umbrella of the Ministry of Climate Change, Islamabad.
In 2019, the endowment fund was blocked after much leg pulling between the KP department of wildlife and the climate change ministry. This step was followed by detaching the local community from park management. In less than three years, sophisticated equipment were moved out from the park and survey of animal count was made controversial. Now the community claims that there are 800 Kashmir markhors left in the park while the climate change ministry claims that number of markhors is 2,500 which is much beyond the carrying capacity in the habitat.
Chitral Gol National Park is home to our national animal, Markhor, national tree Diyar, national bird Chakor, and national flower Jasmine. The endangered species of snow leopard also lives in the park, rich for flora and fauna.
Visitors and tourists have witnessed depletion of recourses and deterioration in facilities which the national park was famous for until 2019. Citizens interested in conservation of nature and biodiversity have appealed to PM Imran Khan, his adviser Amin Aslam and the IGF to take necessary steps for releasing the endowment fund and give the management of the national park back to the custodian community.
Dr Inayatullah Faizi