Since the inception of China Pakistan Economic Corridor, Gwadar often makes the headline news. Amid the branding noise of the “new Dubai, Singapore and Hongkong” its real problems go unnoticed and under-reported.
Outside Gwadar, there would be very few people who are aware of the fact the most of the cities and areas on the Makran Coast including Gwadar lack basic facilities like natural gas supply. One of the backward areas is Pasni, a subdistrict of Gwadar, where there is no supply of natural gas and the locals have no option but to burn wood from the nearby forests as domestic fuel.
The acacia tree forests are being cut to provide fuel wood to the city, which on one hand is destroying the greenery and on the other hand, is increasing atmospheric pollution.
Rustam Khalid, a wood cutter, who cuts wood from the forest in Kulli, an area at a distance of 10km from Pasni, sells wood in the city, spoke to Pak Voices. “In the wake of increasing demand for wood fuel, the forest is reducing considerably by every passing day.”
Earlier there used to be acacia tree in front of every home but now these trees are getting reduced due to reckless deforestation. Pak Voices contacted Qadir Bakhsh, a senior Game Watcher, at the Forest department, the person responsible for the protection of the forest, said, “We are running the official plantation drive since 2010 and have planted thousands of tree during these drives. The provincial government has hired temporary new staff to water these plants as well, which has resulted in increased forests.”
Regarding tree cutting, he said, “We are concerned and worried about deforestation. We have even appointed staff in different areas to prevent tree cutting. But the practice goes despite all the check. The reason is that forest wood is the only kitchen fuel available in Pasni, Gwadar.
Here the question arises: how could the process of illegal deforestation by local wood cutters go on in presence of the appointed forest guards?
A group of ladies busy in cutting trees in Rekpusht area in Pasni said, “We don’t know about other benefits of the trees but we know that trees provide shelter to travelers for rest and our animals also graze amid trees.” But when I questioned them about tree cutting, they said, “How could we run the kitchen stove if we don’t cut woods from the forest?
Badil Baloch is working with Pak Voices as a citizen journalist from Pasni, Gwadar.