SHC summons record of deforestation in Sindh

Karachi: Sindh High Court SHC on Tuesday directed a petitioner to place the record regarding his claim that forestland has been given on lease in violation of related laws.

Petitioner Rana Faizal Hassan representing a NGO submitted that he had written several letters to the Sindh chief minister and other public functionaries regarding forest depleting in Sindh due to negligence on the part of the authorities concerned.

He submitted that land mafia and land developers had deprived of the Sindh, especially Karachi of the forests, adding that forestland has been encroached.

He stated that forests extending from Kashmore to Karachi which include forests of Thatta, Matiari, Kashmore, Nawabshah, Sukkur, Ghotki and other areas have been depleted. But the forest department, whose responsibility was to protect the forests, appeared collaborated with land mafia, he added.

He stated that land mafia had chopped down trees from the forests and was selling wood worth millions of rupees, adding this has brought heavy financial loss to government.

He stated that forest department was asked to grow trees on up to 30 percent land area but it has failed to do so. He said one third of the forests of the Pakistan had been depleted in just two decades which has posed serious threats on the climate of the country and intensified pollution.

He said that lessees had failed to grow trees on 25 percent of the forestland that had been given to them on lease in accordance with Forest Act, adding that no recovery of money had been made from them by the forest department. He said that forest department had given on lease forestland in violation of the related act.

He appealed to court to issue directives against the secretary of forest department, chief conservator forests, and conservators of the forests of Sukkur, Larkana, Thatta and Hyderabad.

Headed by Chief Justice Mushir Alam, the division bench ordered, “No location of the forest has been identified which has been leased in violation of any laws, rules and regulations. In case no particulars are provided before the next date, the petition may be dismissed”.