–Imran says ‘this is just the start’, trees will be planted in empty spaces across cities
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday launched the biggest tree plantation campaign in the history of the country, targeting a plantation of around 3.5 million trees in a day across the country.
Addressed a ceremony in Islamabad, he thanked all those who had participated in Sunday’s campaign.
He said that Pakistan is among the top ten countries in the world most affected by climate change. “Our wheat production has fallen over the past two years due to climate change and unprecedented rainfall,” the PM said.
“If we keep continuing on this path, then some of the areas will become deserts,” he said. “It is our responsibility to make the country green for future generations.”
“The 3.5 million saplings that we have planted today is just the start. This is a constant, ongoing battle, [but] we are not doing this for us. We are doing it for the coming generations,” he further said.
“This is just the beginning. he said, promising that trees would be planted in empty spaces across cities,” he added.
The prime minister also urged women to participate. “The women have to participate the most,” he said.
He added that the nation also had to focus on cleaning the country’s rivers, in addition to making the country green. “So first we have to make the country green by planting trees, but simultaneously we also have to focus on cleanliness and make our rivers clean once again. Planting trees will also help in cleaning our climate and lessening pollution,” he said.
The prime minister concluded his speech by appreciating the Tiger Force volunteers. “You are our future. The work you did today, you did it to improve your own and the country’s future,” he added.
“Today Pakistan is among those few countries that have successfully managed to control the pandemic,” the premier said, adding that that the world now recognises Pakistan’s successful strategy.
He also urged the nation to not defy standard operating procedures (SOPs) just because the number of cases was falling. “Wear a mask every time you leave the house,” he said, adding that not wearing one would amount to being “ungrateful”.
He also requested people to take precautionary measures. “This is a time for precaution. If God has blessed us, then we need to be thankful and wear a mask,” he said.
Earlier, in a tweet, the premier had invited everyone to join him today in planting trees all over Pakistan. He had also asked the parliamentarians, ministers, chief ministers, and Tiger Force volunteers to participate in the biggest tree planting campaign.
“The target is 35 lakh trees in a day though we will try to exceed it,” the prime minister had said.
International ambassadors such as the Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing, Azerbaijan Ambassador Ali Alizada, and Turkish Ambassador Ihsan Mustafa Yurdaku also contributed to the drive by planting saplings at their respective embassies.
Addressing a press conference on Saturday, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam had said that two million saplings would be planted in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), 1.2 million in Punjab, 303,646 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), 57,000 in Balochistan, and 15,000 in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB).
A total of 682 events have been organised across the country with the participation of national and international NGOs, educational institutes, and local communities.
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Youth Affairs Usman Dar urged the opposition parties to the drive and express solidarity. Speaking to a press conference in Lahore on Saturday, he invited leaders of opposition parties to join hands with the government on this plantation drive.
He added that the Tiger Force could create history by planting around 2 million trees in one day. He also appreciated the 350,000 young members of the force who performed their duties during the pandemic.