Musharraf starts plantation drive

ISLAMABAD (PPI) President Pervez Musharraf inaugurated the national spring tree plantation drive here on Friday. More than 86.5 saplings would be planted during the drive all over the country. Federal Minister for Environment, Syed Wajid Hussain Bukhari told the media men after inauguration ceremony that during Spring plantation drive, 22 million in Punjab, 12 million in Sindh, 27 million in NWFP, 1.5 million in Balochistan and 16 million in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, 4 million in Northern Areas and 4 million saplings by different departments would be planted, says a press release issued here. In his message for the occasion, President Musharraf said that forests are the essential part of environment system. Forests regulate the water supplies to reservoirs and irrigation systems, which are the lifeline for the agro-based economy of Pakistan. Trees are natural air filters and perform protective function to stabilise mountainous land and to rebuild fertility of lands. He said our entire rural population also depends upon woods and biogas as a primary source energy. Despite their indirect contribution in other production sectors, economic values of forests are usually underestimated in national accounts and GDP. President Musharraf under Medium term Development Framework (2005-10) and Millenium Development Goals (2015) ample financial resources has been allocated to increase forest cover from 5.01 percent to 6 percent by 2015. Moreover, he said ECNEC has approved Rs 12 billion to launch mega projects of wood in all provinces, AJK and Northern Areas. He directed the provincial governments to ensure implementation on these projects. The President reiterated that Pakistan, as a member of various international and regional forums on Forests is committed to undertake forestry development programme with international support. He said the government would endeavour to ensure transfer of technologies, training and upgrading of departmental infrastructure in order to facilitate the Provinces in implementation their strategies and programmes of Forestry sector. He urged all Pakistani citizens to participate in the national efforts to cover barren land with trees.