Privatisation of forests
Plot by plot, the beautiful and scenic spots of Nathia Galli, Doonga Galli and the other ‘galliat’ of our northern mountains are being divided and allotted to the friends and families of the rich, powerful and connected people of Pakistan. Every year some more of the finest spots, which are in fact a public property (and that of the future generations), are forever snatched away and given to one of these “environmental terrorists”. These are invariably the well placed bureaucrats, generals, politicians, ambassadors and ministers who manage to (much like the prohibited gun licenses and other privileges ) get these plots allotted to themselves. The MMA Chief Minister Akram Khan Durrani, using his own discretionary powers allotted a large plot to himself at Doonga Galli. He now has a palatial house built on this plot, taking away for all times, a beautiful piece of natural forest from the ordinary people and the future generations. An even better portion is now owned by Hamza Sharif. For each such home, special roads are built to provide easy vehicular access, thus adding to the noise pollution and further destroying the forest and the natural scenery. The places where ordinary citizens could visit are rapidly shrinking and being replaced by the residences of the privileged environmental destroyers. It is time that the people demand that all these plots to be returned and converted into public property, accessible to all citizens of Pakistan.
March 19, 2009