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Chitral Forrest staff capture two trucks loaded with illegal timber

CHITRAL: The officials of Forest Department in Chitral have foiled a bid to smuggle two truckloads of timber and arrested two persons.

The forest department staff was informed about presence of logs of precious timber in two trucks, sub-divisional forrest officer Umair Nawaz said. One of the truck parked at a saw machine had Peshawar registration number C-8945.

The timber was covered with bags of potatoes to hide them from the officials.

The forest department personnel in a night raid captured the two trucks with timber logs but the accused made their escape in the darkness of the night.

The forest department staff however, arrested two suspects Aurangzeb s/o Badshahzada and Sadruddin s/o Shamsuddin in the morning and registered a case against them under the protection of forests act.

The accused were intending to carry the precious construction timber to sell it in high demand areas.

Police have sealed the saw machine till the court orders in the case.

Deforestation in Pakistan

For decades, illegal loggers have been hacking away at the forests in northern Pakistan.

The situation is now changing as local people, armed with new powers to confront and fine illegal loggers, and to oust problematic local officials, fight back.

The forest cover receding after timber smugglers in 1980 began cutting large swathes of forest.

According to government data, Pakistan has a forest cover of 4.4 million hectares or five percent of its total land area. The forestry sector contributed $1.3 billion to Pakistan’s economy in 2011, and employs approximately 53,000 people.

But poverty is driving deforestation. The country is losing 27,000 hectares of forest each year, one of the highest deforestation rates in the world, according to Global Forest Watch. For many who are unable to make a living any other way, felling trees to sell to traders in illegal timber.

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