FIR registered against firm for cutting down 540 neem trees -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

FIR registered against firm for cutting down 540 neem trees

Pakistan Press Foundation

KARACHI: The Sindh forests department (SFD) finally succeeded in getting an FIR registered on Tuesday against the firm organising the annual cattle market for cutting down its 540 neem trees along the Superhighway between Toll Plaza and the Wadi-i-Hussain graveyard.

The SFD had been trying for the past many days to get the FIR registered but the Malir police had refused to register the case.

The FIR was eventually registered on the orders of the district and sessions Judge of Malir, who was also approached by the SFD on the issue.

The FIR (No 93/16) has been registered on the report by SFD Range Forest Officer Imran Bhutto under Sections 379, 427, 34, etc of the Pakistan Penal Code, against the Everest International, which is setting up a temporary cattle market in the vicinity.

Judge Khalid Hussain Shahani in his order also advised the deputy commissioner of Malir to look into the issue of cutting down of 540 neem trees along the Superhighway and submit a report by Thursday (Aug 11).

In his order, issued on the SFD’s application on Monday, the judge had ordered the Malir SHO to register a case against the officials of M/s Everest International and advised the SSP (operations) to appoint an honest police officer, not below the rank of a DSP, to investigate the case and take the suspect to task.

The SFD, on the orders of the president of Pakistan, had planted neem trees on over a couple of kilometres long stretch along the Superhighway from Toll Plaza to the Wadi-i-Hussain graveyard some eight years back.

Last week over 540 neem trees of that plantation were cut down so that a temporary cattle market being set up there could be visible from the road.

The SFD approached the police but they did not register the FIR and just took the application.

The order says that the SHO Malir is reported to say that though such an application was received by him but since nobody came forward to record the statement, as provided under Section 154 of the criminal procedure code, therefore no case was registered.

The order says that a report furnished by the assistant commissioner of Malir affirms that hundreds of trees have been cut down and Maveshi Mandi was being established by the M/s Everest International.

The AC Malir in response to a question said that neither the property on which the market was being set up belonged to the Everest International, nor the Sindh government had given any permission to it to establish a mandi, therefore apparently it seemed that all was being done without a lawful authority.

Meanwhile, divisional forest officer Attaullah Shaikh through a communication had also approached the Station Commander of Malir Cantonment informing him that on the midnight of Aug 4 over 540 neem trees had been ruthlessly cut in front of Askari Housing Scheme (AHS) and when the forest officials came on the scene the people cutting the plantation escaped along with their shovels and entered the AHS.

When forest officials approached the AHS no response was given, however, a water bowser came out of the AHS and threw water at the gate to remove the wheel marks of the bowser entering the AHS.

The trees have been cut to give visibility from the road to an ‘unauthorised’ cattle market being set up by the Everest International on land proposed for the AHS, says the DFO in his communication — copies of which have been sent to the headquarters Corps 5 Karachi; director general housing, GHQ, Rawalpindi; headquarters 25 mechanized division Malir Garrison — and has requested that immediate legal action is initiated against the culprits as per law.