Global Vice President IUCN (The International Union for Conservation of Nature) and PTI leader Malik Amin Aslam told media The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a model of energy, infrastructure and mass-transit schemes. However, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) plans to change this under the would-be environmental minister, Malik Amin Aslam, who said that PTI plans to make CPEC a model of eco-civilization. While addressing a seminar held at the Sustainable Policy Development Institute (SDPI), he talked about the projects conducted by the PTI government for the conservation of environment, and said that similar models will be incorporated in CPEC projects.

He said our country has unique natural heritage being the most inclined one in the world, adding, it has 12 ecological zones including 225 protected areas, 14 natural parks and other mesmerizing tourist sites. “In 2013, PTI was the only party with the Green Development Agenda”, he remarked.

Khan informed that around 78 per cent of the forests in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) in 2013 were under stocked while 74 per cent had no regeneration; however, the `Billion Tree Tsunami’ initiative achieved the set targets in five years including international recognition in the fight against climate change. He added that KPK was acknowledged as the first province admitted under ‘Bonn Challenge’ and Forestry leader at Paris COP 21in 2015. “The environment budget for forestry in KPK was the lowest whereas PTI government allocated the highest budget as compared to the federal and all other provinces’ collective budget for environment”, he said.

He said PTI has taken `Green Growth’ initiative while it has owned the challenge of climate change and believes in ‘Tackle climate change and champion green growth’. A green growth task force would be established which has to make research on developing sustainable solutions to environment and climate change, he added.

“The projects like `Billion Tree Tsunami’ are an uphill task which focussed on climate mitigation, environment conservation, creating green jobs, get global recognition while the most paramount thing in the process is political party’s ownership and prerequisite steps to be taken for representation in constitution and party manifesto”, he maintained.

He pointed out the indigenous contributions towards environment degradation, stating Pakistan was wasting 35 million acre feet (MAF) water on average worth U$ 21 billion flushed into the Arabian Sea.

The current forest cover was less than five per cent where deforestation rate was the highest at 2.15 in the country, adding that Lahore was ranked the most polluted city in the world during last year with 20-30 times ratio of polluting agents than the permissible limit due to SMOG, he added.

“Environmental degradation costs six per cent of GDP (Rs 365 billion per annum)”, he said. Malik Amin Aslam was confident that PTI had done its groundwork and made basic plans to be executed for protecting environment with party’s support where it has already launched its ‘Green Charter’ abiding each party member to work keeping the environment and habitat clean, green and eco-friendly.

SDPI, Executive Director Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri said climate change has become a pains taking issue for all political parties while SDPI has conducted three different surveys before general elections 2018.

The respondents in ‘Environment Barometre’ opined that rising temperature, water shortage and air pollution were the serious environmental issues, however, interestingly 60 per cent people during the poll claimed that they would vote for the party vowing to alleviate environment issues, he said.

Source: CPEC Info