Questioning The Unquestionable – Facts Vs Propaganda

Questioning The Unquestionable - Billion Tree Tsunami.2
Questioning The Unquestionable – Billion Tree Tsunami

While going through the daily news, an article Locust attack used as excuse to cover up Ten Billion Tree Tsunami scam.”  written by Mr. Ansar Abbassi in “The News” on July 14th,2020 attracted my attention.

The piece was nothing but a package of malicious allegations, disinformation, and misinformation. The news has defamed the universally acclaimed and replicated project which is being dispensed with unquestionable transparency. As a close observer of the project, I would like to categorically refute the charges.

 

 

Firstly, The allegation has been hurled that the excuse of locust attack is being used to cover up corruption and failure of the project in Punjab. Should I not ask respected senior journalist to show where exactly in any of the official narratives has the onus been put on locust attacks? It was his duty to do some research but as he didn’t, let me correct him. Punjab planted 51 million trees during FY2019-20 and had met 90% of it’s afforestation target by the end of first year of the project. It’s a landmark achievement.

 

The logic is also ridiculous in a sense that natural calamity is being used for baseless accusations. Locusts, Mr Ansar Abbasi, do not pick and choose. They aren’t allured by lifafas and hence cannot be directed to attack the “target”.  They can eat blades, leaves, plants, agriculture crops, or forest trees.  They attacked areas in Punjab too. But fortunately the response to locust attack in South Punjab was so Swift and strong that only “minimal” damage to crops was made, according to official investigation made by  The Government of Punjab. I hope Respected Sir wouldn’t now say that the official investigation has understated the damage to hide prevalent incompetence in Punjab forest department.

 

The senior journalist also said, again without any substantial evidence, that the success rate of the project in Bhakkar, Chakwal and DG Khan is 20-30%. Let’s suppose for a moment that he’s right when he says that forestation in the mentioned area is 20-30%. Does it not mean that in some areas it must be 100% or at least 90%+ in order fill the gap to make afforestation stand at 90% of the target? Would venerable journalist not say a appreciate forest ministry for those areas?

 

The author has also filed same ill-founded charges against KPK TBTTP.  Locust did attack some patches of forests during the first half of April, 2020. But the attacks were soon averted due to the disciplined collaborated effort of Agriculture and Forest Department, Pakistan Army and the local community. No harm to the planation has been witnessed. The trees are unharmed and are under strict surveillance.

 

Performance speaks itself. The parent project Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Project (TBTTP)  initiated by the PTI government was evaluated to have a high impact by Third Party Monitoring. The project yielded 1.208 billion trees against its target of 1 billion, that too at a cost Rs.8 billion lesser than estimated cost of Rs. 22 billion.

 

The transparency of the ongoing BTT project is evident from the fact that unlike other public sector projects, BTTP gets its audit done by third party. WWF carried out three performance audits and lauded the excellent work done in raising nurseries. The success rate of planted forests was over 80% and the natural regeneration in reserve forests which from being negative went to almost 2412 plants/hectare.

All protocols were followed strictly during afforestation and execution of BTTP, consequently bagged recognition by IUCN and FAO. FAO Report has validated that due to BTTP, KP forest cover went up by 5%, going from 20% to 26%. Making it to five videos of WEF is another proof of the immense success of the project. Using satellite images, SUPARC has also endorsed the success of the project.

All above-mentioned reports uphold the transparency and efficiency of the project.

Media makes the most upright thing questionable. Here I, as a citizen of Pakistan, have few questions to ask from media too:

– Is journalism left with any ethics?

– Can a journalist say anything without an iota of investigation? Should he have the audacity to question anything without being answerable himself?

-Being the fourth pillar of the state, does no responsibility lies on media? Is there no scrutiny of articles to be published in newspapers? Should a piece full of allegation, fabrication and concoction be a part of Nation-wide Newspaper?

– Media was quick to ask for an apology from a religious scholars for being called what it is- a Pack of liars. Now would Mr Ansar Abbasi apologize for penning down a piece full of lies and accusations?? Will he??

 

Check this blog too: Our Last Hope – Blog By Nimra Najam

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