Ijaz Ali, a nursery owner from Mardan and Shaukat Ali from Swat said that March 21st 2013 is bring observed as World Forest Day throughout the world but in Pakistan it will be observed as a protest against flawed forestation policies.
They announced to kill one million seedlings of Deodar (National tree of Pakistan), pine wallancia, Chir pine and Chalgoza pine on World Forest Day in Islamabad.
Ten thousand seedlings will be destroyed in Islamabad by putting them on fire, and ninety thousand will be killed in three nurseries in Mardan and Swat districts in the first phase. Rest of the one million seedlings will be killed subsequently, they informed.
The extreme step is taken as a last resort to shakeup national conscience and makes us think of what is seriously wrong with our forestation policies as millions of seedlings are available for plantation and millions of acres of suitable land is also available yet no forestation, said Ijaz Ali.
He said that all the seedlings are grown in our nurseries and have been painstakingly taken care of for four to seven years. During all these years we were not able to sell a single seedling for forestation purposes, despite the fact that we are the largest grower of seedlings of coniferous species in Pakistan.
During all these years we have managed through our own resources without any help from government. We have a ready plantation stock which is more than the stock of all the forest nurseries put together.
It is with a heavy heart that we are proceeding with this extreme step because in the absence of any genuine demand and without selling our produce for the last five years, we are unable to take care of the seedlings anymore.
The seedlings we are destroying will die anyways by this time next year, because we have neither the will nor the finances to carry out these activities any longer.
Our question from the policy makers is, will they justify and verify on ground the huge claims of forestation of the state forest departments each year? As usual, we are sure the claims of millions of the plantation at sites unknown will also surface in the workshops and briefings to the higher ups this year as well charging a huge chunk of money to the government.