Dhodial pheasantry has the largest collection / species of exotic birds in the world. It is located 15 km from Mansehra town in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K.P.K) on the Karakoram Highway.
Its survival came under threat due to human error as the new blocks were planned to be built on its site for the upcoming new Hazara University, decision for which was taken in 2001 by the military Governor of the time Lt.Gen (Retd) Iftikhar Hussain Shah.
In early 2005, when the threat came close, ZKF started a multi pronged campaign to reverse the unwise decision by writing in the Karachi press and involved the MMA ministers whose government was in power at the time. As a result, the MMA government reversed the decision in May 2005 with a directive from the Chief Minister of the province.
Upon end of the tenure of the MMA govt. in Oct 2007, the issue was again raised by the University. That attempt was also neutralized by ZKF before the Governor Lt. Gen (Retd) A.M.J. Orakzai. Support from the Inspector General Forests, Islamabad and the provincial secretary environment was also commendable on the occasion.
Lately, it seemed that the university had taken a positive stance that they want to possess and maintain the pheasantry. The Wildlife Deptt. desires that status quo should be maintained and the University is welcome to use this golden opportunity for research and entertainment. The new Governor Engineer Owais Ahmed Ghani was again approached by the Hazara University after Gen. Orakzai resigned in November 2007.
On 20th Feb 2008, the new governor summoned a meeting in which no attention was paid to the previous government’s and governor’s decisions which was reflected in the minutes of that meeting. Even the technical views of the Chief Conservator of Wildlife were not mentioned. These minutes were self explanatory and showed in which direction the wind was blowing ? All this happenned when the parliamentary session of the new political government was not being called by the Governor.
ZKF had faith and confidence that the Governor will respond to the letter sent to him on 12th March and will give an opportunity to hear the views of the civil society. He called a meeting in late March in which he was adamant that the pheasantry be handed over to the university and alternate site be selected. The provincial government was resisting to transfer the pheasantry property as it was a provincial matter while the Governor as a Chancellor of the university was a Federal Govt. representative. It was also feared that orders of transferring the pheasantry amounted to the orders of its destruction whatever the authorities may say. It is like the story of the wolf in lamb skin !!!
The pressure on the Governors must have been coming from the President's office who was a very close friend of Gen.(Retd) I.H.Shah the former Governor and until 15th June 2008 was Pakistan's ambassador in Turkey. Through his good offices, the Turkish government's funds for earthquake relief were reported to be also used for building of the new academic blocks of the University where about 300 Turkish workers and engineers were working since last two years and as they had reached only 100 meters away from the pheasantry, the pressure started building between the donor and the receiver countries and their foreign offices ??
ZKF invited a private TV-DAWN from Karachi who made a 40 minutes documentry on the issue in mid-March and the same was shown on prime time on 12,13 and 22 April 2008. It helped in influencing the opinion of the civil servants as well as the political government in the province.
For more details about the background story, please click to see all newspaper articles and supporting documents of that time.