M. Bilal Baseer Abbasi
ABBOTTABAD: In Abbottabad, a city of pines, the authorities are bent upon cutting a century-old Pine trees for the construction of a building near Police lines area while civil society have vowed to resist the move, terming it detrimental to their acclimatisation with these trees accrued over the scores.
The activists and locals are of the view that these trees provided them shade and shelter for over 100 years and their biological killing would be shocking for them.
As per details, these trees were cut down after the provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) had given approval for a building of a hostel of Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) near police rest house. The contractor’s earlier move to remove two trees and did not bear fruit further as civil society activists and journalists resisted it sternly.
Now the activists have protested in various parts of the city urging citizens to collectively help protect and preserve the ancient pine trees, which had acquired the status of city’s heritage and had given recognition to the area.
Miss Amna Sardar, former MPA KP Assembly while talking to The Frontier Post said that her city Abbottabad was once known as the city of pines. Now, the condition is worse and older trees have been savagely chopped off, and rest is being cut down fast due to unconcerned of the authorities. Some decades before due to these pine, camphor and ample trees we were fortunate enough to be blessed with pleasant, resplendent weather. She said further, when the northern are frozen, we still manage to extract ample warmth from the sun.
While discussing on current situation she told that many such precious trees were cut down from Eid-Ghaa and Jinnah bagh, Abbottabad which was previously known as Company Bagh. Similarly, some memorable trees of British time were cut down from famous Cantonment’s Lady Garden for conversion it to park. She urged further that the trees, Abbottabad’s heritage can be protected by raising their voice. She requested to civil society, environmental NGOs, journalists and other stakeholders to raise their protection of the environment, trees and heritage.
She demanded to the government to take notice of this violation and banned on cutting of the trees. A journalist from Abbottabad Abrar Rashid and an environmentalist Muneeb Abbasi said that our precious oldest trees of pines, camphor and amples protect Abbottabad’s flora and fauna, conserve cultural and historical heritage and provide natural setting for the enjoyment of the denizens and visitors. Due to the felling of the trees which was planted here by Britain the birds of Abbottabad are going to be homeless due to biggest environmental attack on their nest, known as Abbottabad named after Major. Abbott.
Abrar further said it is every one responsibility to raise his voice on this issue as it is not just a matter of mediamen. The authorities concerned were, though, of the view that they saved many trees by remodeling and redesigning the original building plan. However, this pine was an obstruction in construction of the building.
When contacted, District Police Officer (DPO) Abbottabad, Abbas Majeed Marwat, he told the correspondent that trees were cut down by the government contractor for the establishment of an hostel building of Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) near police rest house. He asked for communication with SP CTD, which post is lying vacant after the retirement of Ex. SP so to no avail. Locals said that they would not allow officials to “kill” these trees at any cost. In this connection, they have also announced moving to all appropriate forums against the pines tree’s likely chopping by authorities. They requested to the KP government to take notice of the issue and preserve biodiversity of Abbottabad city.