The natural environment of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) is facing serious challenges due to rampant exploitation of natural resources and deforestation by Islamabad.
Locals in the historically Indian territory have raised concern over the indiscriminate felling of trees for timber as it is leading to environmental degradation and unusually warm temperatures in the illegally-occupied region.
Former administrator of Muzaffarabad District Council Khursheed Hussain Kiyani blamed the rampant destruction of natural resources that left the already fragile ecology on a brink, but the Pakistan government has continued to ignore their plight.
“The conservation of trees is important. The felling of trees is leading to hot temperatures. The tree felling should be stopped. It is the most important issue to preserve the forests,” he said.
“Lot of promises were made that the government will create artificial lakes in the region, but no lakes were constructed,” he added.
Kiyani also voiced concern that the government has failed to make provisions for accommodation and other facilities to attract tourists to the region.
Locals blame it on the poor power supply and bad roads, and the tourism sector in the region has failed to realize its true potential under the illegal occupation of Pakistan.
Pakistan has unrestrainedly misused the natural resources of the occupied region and has constructed several dams and diverted the natural flow of rivers.
It has even allowed the timber mafia to operate openly in the region and cut trees rampantly.
The local residents have even protested against the discriminatory policies of Islamabad for misusing the region’s natural resources for its own gain.