WWF urges GB to avoid activities in Deosai National Park

Islamabad: The World Wildlife Fund-Pakistan has asked the GB government to refrain from carrying out promotional activities in the Deosai National Park because they can cast detrimental impacts on its fragile and pristine environment.

The word of caution came after the GB government announced its plans to hold a polo festival at Rama in Astore followed by a jeep rally, para-gliding and fish angling competitions in the national park. The activities are aimed at reviving tourism in the area.

In a letter sent to GB Governor Birjees Tahir, chief minister, chief secretary and secretaries of departments concerned on Aug 9, the WWF-Pakistan said that the activities “may not be a socially popular, economically viable, legally permissible and environmentally safe initiative”.

It pointed out that Rama forests were protected under the Northern Areas Forest Act 1927. Similarly, Deosai plateau was declared a national park under the Northern Areas Wildlife Preservation Act 1975.

“The two proposed venues for the festivities are protected by virtue of law. Therefore, any activity which may harm or damage the rare, unique and threatened biodiversity of the protected forests and the national park will be illegitimate and unlawful,” WWF-Pakistan Director General Hammad Naqi Khan said in the letter.