The news: The Federal Government is set to initiate its Green Stimulus package meant to conserve nature, protect the environment, and provide environmentally-friendly jobs to laborers. As part of this stimulus, a large scale protected area initiative will be launched across Pakistan.
Six protected parks: According to Malik Amin Aslam, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Climate Change, the Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC) will develop six model national protected parks in all provinces, including Azad Jammu & Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. The cost of the establishment of these national parks will amount to Rs. 2,400 million. ‘National Parks Sevice for Pakistan’ will be a new authority established to maintain and conserve these parks.
Billion Tree Tsunami: The plan for developing national parks is part of the Prime Minister’s Billion Tree Tsunami program and will be implemented appropriately to help preserve Pakistan’s diverse wildlife and their habitat with a focus on eco-tourism and conservation of environment. Aslam stated that the government’s vision was to protect the nature and the indigenous wildlife found in Pakistan, to be appreciated by future generations.
Kheri Murat: Aslam provided details about the national park expected to be established in Punjab. Under National Parks Service for Pakistan, a park will be established at Kheri Murat, Fatehjang Tehsil of Attock district in Punjab. The said park will extend over 8,740 acres and touch nine villages in the north, eight in the south, Kheri Murat village and Rawalpindi in the east, and the hills close to Gali Jageer village in the west. The park will be located over 50 kilometers from Islamabad and will be visible on both sides of the Lahore-Islamabad motorway.
Fostering biodiversity: Hunting, shooting, killing, trapping, or capturing of any wild animal within the boundaries of the park and in three kilometers radius around it, would be prohibited. The park would be considered a protected area with the aim to restore the natural habitat of many wildlife creatures and foster the rich biodiversity that the region has been blessed with.
Employment and recreation: Situated across the unique ecosystem in the Kala Chitta mountain range, the park will not only provide ensure multiple opportunities of employment for locals but also offer delightful recreational activities and appreciation for the country’s marvelous natural landscapes. Earlier this month, the government had announced the green stimulus package which would benefit the ecology of Pakistan in different provinces and provide jobs for many laborers and daily wagers who lost employment during the coronavirus pandemic.