Sanctity of Ayubia National Park
Subject: SANCTITY OF AYUBIA NATIONAL PARK ABUSED
Staff of KP Forest Department entered Ayubia National Park on 20th Sept, 2012 on the directions of the Secretary Environment Govt. of KP and illegally chopped off trees over arching the famous pipe line trail between Doonga Gali and Ayubia. These trees had fallen down under heavy snow several years back and made overhead bridges on the trail. The trees were not removed by the Wildlife department because they did not pose any threat to visitors and did not hamper their movement. It was exactly in accordance with the provisions of the KP Wildlife law which says that no plants whether dead or alive should be removed from a National Park. The fallen trees are a component of Park Ecology as they provide food to the cavity nesting birds and also add to the soil organic matter as decomposition. In addition, the termites and other insects which breed in these fallen trees become a feed for the birds and thus the cycle of biodiversity!
Removal of fallen trees is also a temptation for the timber hungry mafia to destroy the forest in the pretext of wind falls. Ayubia National Park is being managed by the Wild Life department since 1984. It has been saved from axe and saw of the timber mafia supported by the Forest department for almost three decades and now gives a look of a green island surrounded by desolate rock mountains.
The Wildlife department resisted the orders of the secretary environment to cut and remove the trees to the utmost with the consequence that the forest department was ordered to carry out its traditional and well known function of chopping and removal of wind falls. The trees in the National Park are likely to fall in winds and snow in future too and if the policy of their removal by the forest department continues, the National Park will meet the same fate as many other forests have met in the guise of wind falls.
Ayubia National Park is internationally known for its naturalness and prestinity and is the most protected piece of moist temperate conifer forest.
Declaration as National Park is the only legal tool to save our valuable forest. However, today’s tyrannical and illegal move by the so called custodians has rendered even this tool ineffective.
The Civil Society and the comity of nature conservationist condemns this illegal action in the National Park and requests the Chief Justice of Peshawar High Court to take suo-moto notice of this illegal action and save the National Park.
Muhammad Mumtaz Malik (Ph.D)
CEO Zareef Khan Foundation (Retired Chief Conservator Wildlife Deptt. KP)
1-Nishtarabad, Peshawar, Pakistan.