Army, CPEC activities damage ecology of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir

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The ecology of the Kashmir occupied by Pakistan (PoK) is being destroyed by an expanding military presence, including insurgent camps and the footprints of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), reported Asian Lite International.

According to media reports and expert commentators in Pakistan, the region’s ecology has suffered due to the sharp decline in forest cover. For obvious security concerns, they avoid discussing the military presence and the terrorist camps that are cited with evidence by Western think tanks. On the other side, Pakistani writers call for the army’s “intervention” to stop the clearing of forests and the smuggling of wood by private contractors, claiming a conspiracy between governmental authorities and the “timber mafia,” as per Asian Lite International.

The CPEC passes through the Khunjerb Pass in the Gilgit Baltistan region where activity has increased as the Chinese seek more and safer access across the unstable region where their employees and enterprises have been assaulted by terrorists. As a result, Pakistan now has a bigger military presence. Both parties support local commercial interactions. The fragile ecology suffers a net loss.

An editorial in Daily Siasat, as cited by Asian Lite International, has expressed concern over the “merciless cutting of timber, smuggling and deforestation in PoK.”

“The absence of a forest policy and corruption has made the situation extremely vulnerable,” it warns, adding, “The situation is alarming as it is not only destroying the resources of PoK without any benefit to the state but also extremely harmful to the environment.

Alternative fuel sources must be made available in order to put an end to the cutting of trees. The issue required rapid action in order to be resolved, as failure to do so would likely result in a serious environmental catastrophe.

The PoK is known as a forestry state, with the Forest Department in charge of 42 per cent of its 13,297 square kilometres (5,134 sq. miles) of land. The PoK has a population of roughly 4.36 million people, 88.12 per cent of whom live in rural areas and rely on agriculture, cattle, and forest resources for a living.

Hammad Gilani, wrote in Pakistan Observer, as quoted by Asian Lite International, “A closer look reveals shocking losses, such as the massive deforestation by the timber mafia in the undulating valleys of Pak-occupied Kashmir and the rapid deforestation in dense green areas.”

“If this situation continues then forests and trees will soon be cut from Pak-occupied Kashmir. Rain and snowfall will stop in the region, which will end the natural beauty.”

Gilani laid the responsibility on the “timber mafia” that cooperates with the government. The political backing of the timber mafia is a significant contributor to deforestation. As a result, the political class is disregarded, and the mafia keeps killing out this great blessing of nature.

Thanks to this human assault, this magnificent area is progressively becoming less beautiful over time. As dense woods steadily disappear, the ecology suffers as a result.

The folks who live close to the woods have not received gasoline from the government. The primary cause of deforestation is said to be their “unwise approach” of using wood and forests for their everyday necessities.

The majority of rural households utilise enormous trees taken from forests to build their homes, ceilings, bridges, furniture, and most critically, fuel, which is the only form of energy they have access to (for cooking and heating). In PoK, a typical home uses three trees for fuel and maintenance purposes including roof repairs.

Unrestricted usage of wood is still prevalent in business and residential buildings. In the remainder of the nation, timber is highly valuable commercially. Gilani said that the local population also uses timber products “for cash,” Asian Lite International reported.

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