Call for lodging criminal case by police against municipal officials responsible for tree cutting near Peoples Secretariat

Karachi, November 06, 2017 (PPI-OT):A non-governmental organization working for the cause of environmental issues has called for lodging of a criminal case against the municipal authorities involved in chopping down of dozens of trees in Peoples Secretariat area to Kashmir road of District East of the city.

In a statement issued on Monday, President of National Forum for Environment and Health (NFEH) Naeem Qureshi said that officials concerned of District Municipal Corporation (DMC) East in Karachi should be taken task for cutting a large number of fully grown and old trees in Peoples Secretariat area near Mazar e Quaid in Karachi.

The NFEH President said that there was no valid reason whatsoever for the DMC staffers to chop down around 50 fully grown trees around the area. He said the fallen trees were a source of constant comfort and natural shade for residents and visitors of the area to get respite from the scorching heat during the daytime especially in peak summer. Moreover, the presence of trees in the premises ensured protection and upkeep of environment of the area under constant threat of environmental degradation due to ever-increasing commercial and business activities in its surroundings.

He said that in no way any municipal and civic agency should act to cut down fully grown trees without taking prior permission from the relevant government and revenue authorities of Karachi. Mr. Qureshi lamented the situation that municipal agencies of the city despite being run by duly elected leadership had been adding to the alarming phenomena of environmental pollution instead of taking overdue corrective measures for safeguarding environment of Karachi.

He said that Sindh chief minister, Sindh Environment minister, provincial Home minister, and Commissioner Karachi should immediately take cognizance of the situation as a criminal case should always be lodged with the police whenever any instance of tree cutting happened in the city without any valid cause and prior intimation to the authorities concerned. The NFEH president said that in the recent past there had been some laudable instances when Commissioner Karachi had sprung into action and got lodged FIR against incidents of undue tree cutting in the city for sake of doing commercial activities.

He said that one method could be blanket imposition of Section-144 of Code of Criminal Procedure on city-wide basis to declare chopping down of trees an illegal activity so that police could immediately take action and lodge a criminal case whenever such a complaint was made to it regarding any instance of undue tree cutting in Karachi. All other relevant sections of the CrPC and Pakistan Penal Code should be invoked by the police and other law-enforcement authorities concerned so to immediately catch and hand down stern punishment to those involved in the practice of illegal tree cutting in the city.

The NFEH president said the office of Commissioner Karachi and offices of deputy-commissioners in all districts of the city should be fully vigilant so to take swift action whenever a complaint was forwarded to them regarding any activity of impending tree cutting in their respective jurisdictions.

He said it was high time that Sindh Environmental Protection Agency should initiate cases and duly penalize the municipal agencies and civic bodies in the province, if they were found involved in instances leading up to degradation of environment and causing pollution. Cases against such municipal agencies should be referred to the environmental tribunal without giving them any undue benefit of the law, he said.

For more information, contact:
Media Coordinator
National Forum for Environment and Health (NFEH)
309, Al-Sehat Center, Hotel Regent Plaza, Shahrah-e-Faisal,
Tel: +92-21-35653676, +92-21-35213853
Fax: +92-21-35651797


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