Destruction of forests in Pakistan and role of Timber Mafia

Immediate action and steps needed to protect the remaining forests

Every species on earth depends on nature for survival and human beings explored nature during the struggle for their survival. Majority of us understand this process in general but exploring nature in order to fulfill the fundamental needs of human beings has not damaged and destroyed nature so much as damage made by different mafias in the greed for gaining the maximum profits. Although such damages are in every sphere like creating water and air  pollution by factories and damaging the atmosphere as a whole but in order to understand it well, we take the example of cutting trees by Timber Mafia, causing the destruction of Jungles on a huge scale.
As we were told by our forefathers that the mountains of Jammu and Kashmir, Murree and KPK were completely covered with thick Jungles, having very old tall pine trees and others, but treeless mountains tells us the story that how we have destroyed our ecosystem.   Instead of the fact that the total dependency of the residents of the areas for using wood to cook meals and to warm the houses in winter. The wood was also used in constructing homes in these areas. But they did not destroy the forests for these fundamental needs. 

They had not destroyed the Jungles at all because if they used to cut one tree, simultaneously they plant ten more plants due to which the size of Jungles never reduced.
When there were heavy thick Jungles, there remained continuous rain cycles for the whole year and huge snow falls in winter. There remained no scarcity of water and weather round the year was also joyful and pleasant due to the balance in nature.
Where the actual problem started from? For answering this question, we briefly need to understand the social evolutionary process of these areas. Almost four to five decades ago, there was a very simple life of the people of these areas. People used to live in a society where their economic dependency was mainly on agriculture and cattle farming. People of these areas had very cooperative relations with each other in social and economic activities like building anyone's homes, cutting grass for cattle, arrangements for wedding ceremonies and in case of anyone's death, the arrangements for funerals. There were strong sense of community and brotherhood. Almost every resident was enjoying the similar living standard with simplicity of life.
In the sixties and seventies some of the people initially started moving in cities or abroad in search of better life and opportunities. Some of them set up their businesses and some of them could manage to get jobs. Inflow of money started in these areas. Initially people started spending money on building big houses, arranging big wedding ceremonies and ultimately influencing the societies. This new lavish life style of newly rich people developed race to get money through whatever means possible.
 The  People who could not get any job or set up any business for themselves, moved towards the local resources like cutting of the trees from Jungles in order to sell the wood to earn money and after going through a process they became the Timber Mafia. In the greed of earning maximum wealth, they started cut the whole Jungles without considering the devastating impacts of cycling destruction of this all.
Although the laws for protection of Jungles exist but unfortunately the Timber Mafia joined hands the officials of forest department and thus emerged   the nexus between timber mafia, government officials and some local politicians. The state officials that criminal role in the destruction of forests as they were on one hand get the salaries from State but on other hand they earn several times higher money from the Timber Mafia for giving them support for their such illegal activities and there were no check and balance for these officials from any corners of the state or the sitting Governments.
Timber Mafia spends money during the election campaigns on the candidates of their choice.  They mostly invested money into the campaigns of influential candidates who have the connections and influence in the top circles of ruling elites.  The timber mafia becomes strong after the backing from influential politicians and state bureaucracy.   As the result, Timber Mafia had penetrated in every state institution and build strong nexus. There lost fear of law and continue to cut trees on massive levels that ultimately resulted in deforestation.  They have completely abolished the Jungles and naked the mountains of these areas.
The snow, rains, weather patterns and forests are interlinked closely. One element affects the others.  Thick Jungles not only provide us with oxygen but they also maintain the cycle of rains and snow falls. The deforestation directly affects the weather patterns. The change in weather patterns affects the agriculture and climate.  When Jungles are abolished, ultimately this act damages the weather patterns, the timings of rains and snow fall changes. The less rain and snow fall means less water.  The level of ground water started to drop and water shortage becomes reality. The fewer rains and snow fall also result in rise of temperatures.  
This whole process ultimately affects agriculture and cattle farming too. Today we are facing all these problems and blaming nature for this all but it's quite obvious that nature is not responsible for this but the Timer Mafia in this particular sector and other mafias in other sectors for their greed of earning maximum wealth.
But this is not the single effect of destruction of Jungles. There are too many others as well. There are thousands of species like birds and animals which live in Jungles due to a particular atmosphere and abolishing Jungles doesn't mean only cutting of trees but it means demolishing that particular atmosphere where those species could live and survive while by such acts they are forced to die. We are losing hundreds of species every year as the direct result of deforestation.
These are not the species living there but the same birds and animals are the safe houses of thousands of viruses and when these safe houses are demolished, these viruses need some other safe houses and same is the problem which we are facing today in COVID-19 pandemic where virus shifted from any animal or bird and the life of the whole human generation is at risk. Ebola virus in Africa which took away thousands of lives emerged from a forest which was cut down by a multinational company for plantation. 
 If we wish to give healthy, pleasant and balance natural atmosphere to our coming generations, we needs to take immediate steps to safe our forests and trees. Forests are considered as the lungs of our earth. Imagine living without lungs.
 We need to play our role as society to stop these Mafias from destroying the Jungles further, raising our voices and to demand from the sitting Governments and State institutions to take actions against timber mafia and protect the forests and grasslands. The laws need to be upgraded and strictly implemented.  
Government should provide LPG to the people living on the mountains on subsidised rates to stop people from burning wood.  This would decrease the use of wood.   This money will be worth spending to safe our environment and ecosystem of these areas.  A new plantation drive is needed with the help of local communities. We further need to demand from the Government for immediate plantation so that some loss could be recovered and for a longer perspective, we should struggle for setting up the foundation of such a society and system, where planning could determine the things, instead of the greed of wealth.
                                                            Kabir Khan 

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