SCN appeals Commissioner Hazara for protection of Lake Saiful Muluk

PESHAWAR, Aug 10 (APP): Sarhad Conservation Network (SCN), an advocacy body striving for conservation of environment, heritage and culture, has requested Commissioner Hazara Division for enforcing the law to protect Lake Saiful Muluk National Park.

In an application submitted with Commissioner Hazara Division, Convener SCN Dr Adil Zareef mentioned that Lake Saiful Muluk had been declared as National Park in 2003 and its protection fell under Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Wildlife and Biodiversity (Protection, Preservation, Conservation and Management) Act 2015.

The purpose of declaring it as National Park was to protect the picturesque landscape and biodiversity associated with it.

The Act of 2015 under section 29, subsection (g) to (i) “prohibits polluting water, littering and dumping of waste, defacing and wall chalking, use of vehicles except on recognized roads, blowing of pressure horns and making noise.”

But, unfortunately all of the above rules were being violated owing to weak enforcement, leading to fast deterioration of the landscape, with a very adverse impact on environment and ecotourism, the application added.

Foreign and local tourists who choose to visit Pakistan because of its pristine forests, landscapes and fauna are shocked to see the ecological degradation as protected reserves like this national park, are becoming huge garbage dumps. 

Local jeeps drove off road around the periphery of the lake, 200 shops and khokhas had sprung up leading to heaps of garbage and litter around the periphery. Urgent steps were needed to reverse the trend, the application read.

In short, the existing National & KP National Reserve rules needed to be revised in view of the emerging concept of ecotourism, with well-defined management tools and roles of various stakeholders, Dr Adil suggested. 

Commercial activities should also be restricted in the protected park reserve, and relocated outside the reserve demarcation, he said. 

The SCN would like to support KP government’s ambitious “Green Agenda” in finding a sustainable solution to myriad environmental issues.

In addition to raising the above mentioned issues, a panel comprising environmental experts, foresters, academics, social activists would happily volunteer to guide and advise the “Lake Saiful Muluk National Park administrative Wildlife Force”, for further inputs on existing policy, improved administration and management of the National Park, in keeping with national and global guidelines, he said.