10
January

میریا ڈھول سپاہیا

تحریر: محمد اعظم خان

ستمبر1965 کی جنگ کے دوران تخلیق کئے گئے قومی نغموں کا ایک احوال اس وقت کے پروڈیوسرریڈیو پاکستان لاہور کی زبانی

ستمبر1965کورات کی تاریکی میں بھارت نے لاہور کے بارڈر پر اچانک حملہ کر دیا۔ تمام پاکستانی قوم ایک سیسہ پلائی دیوار کی طرح اپنی بہادر فوج کے شانہ بشانہ یک جان ہو کر اُٹھ کھڑی ہوئی اور عملی طور پر تاریخ میں جو کردار مسلح افواج کے ساتھ ساتھ ثقافتی ابلاغ کے محاذ پر اس ادارے یعنی ریڈیو پاکستان لاہور نے کیا وہ ایک سنہری باب ہے۔ ستمبر1965کی جنگ کا جب بھی ذکر ہوتا ہے اس حوالے سے پاکستان کی فنکار برادری کا ذکر بھی ضروری ہے۔ جس میں ملکہ ترنم نورجہاں کے علاوہ میوزیشنز، شعراء کرام سب کی ایک ہی سوچ تھی کہ ہم سب نے مل کر دشمن کے ناپاک ارادوں کو ملیا میٹ کرنا ہے۔ ملکہ ترنم نورجہاں کی میری اس منتخب ٹیم میں جو لوگ شمار کئے جا سکتے ہیں اُن کے نام یہ ہیں۔ استاد صادق علی مانڈ کلارنٹ نواز، سارنگی نواز، ناظم علی (طبلہ نواز)، محمد صابر، (گھڑا) رحمت خان(وائلن) مراد حسین ہاشمی، سردار لطیف، ہارمونیم ماسٹر منو، سرود نواز فیض فرید، بانسری نواز خاور حسین (خادم) اورسرمنڈل پر، پرویز مہدی یہ میوزیشنز کی ٹیم تھی جو صرف ملکہ ترنم نورجہاں کے ترانوں کے لئے وقف تھی۔ سب نے بڑی محبت اور دل جمعی سے کام کیا۔ ایسا جذبہ قابل دید تھا۔ ہم سب لوگ صبح صبح ریڈیو سٹیشن آ جاتے اور رات تک کام جاری رہتا۔ یقین مانیں اﷲ تعالیٰ کی رحمت و برکت سے ملک و قوم کے لئے کام کرتے ہوئے سب نے اپنا اپنا حصہ ڈالا جس کی وجہ سے ہم اتنے اچھے ترانے پیش کرنے میں کامیاب ہوئے۔
جنگ کے دوران ریڈیو پاکستان لاہور نے ملی اور جنگی ترانے پیش کر کے ثقافتی محاذ پر ایک نئی تاریخ رقم کی۔ جنگ ستمبر 65 کے دوران ملکہ ترنم نورجہاں نے ریڈیوپاکستان لاہور سے نغمے پیش کئے۔ ہر ایک نغمے کی علیحدہ کہانی ہے۔ اس مہینے سب سے پہلے ترانے کا ذکر کرتا ہوں۔ ان تمام ترانوں کو پیش کرنے کا شرف مجھے حاصل ہے۔ پہلا ترانہ تھا۔
’’میریا ڈھول سپاہیا تینوں رب دیاں رکھاں‘‘

meryadolsyapa.jpg
جنگ ستمبر 65کو شروع ہوئی مگر ملکہ ترنم نورجہاں کے نغموں کی ریکارڈنگ 8ستمبر کو شروع ہوئی۔ اس کی کہانی کچھ اس طرح ہے کہ 8ستمبر 65 کو ملکہ ترنم نورجہاں نے ریڈیو اسٹیشن لاہور ٹیلیفون کیا کہ میں نورجہاں بول رہی ہوں۔اس وقت ملک و قوم کو میری آواز کی ضرورت ہے۔ میں ریکارڈنگ کے لئے ریڈیو اسٹیشن آنا چاہتی ہوں۔ اس وقت کے اسٹیشن ڈائریکٹر شمس الدین بٹ(مرحوم) کو یقین نہ آیا اور ٹیلیفون بند کر دیا۔ دوبارہ ٹیلیفون آیا تو دوسری طرف مشہور میوزک کمپوزر حسن لطیف بول رہے تھے۔ کہنے لگے: بٹ صاحب! میں میڈم نورجہاں کے گھر سے بول رہا ہوں۔ میڈم نورجہاں واقعی ریکارڈنگ کے لئے آنا چاہتی ہیں۔ اسٹیشن ڈائریکٹر نے کہا کہ فوراً تشریف لے آئیں۔ ہم آپ کے جذبہ حب الوطنی کی داد دیتے ہیں۔ ہم آپ کی آواز میں ترانے ریکارڈ کر کے فوراً نشر کریں گے۔


اس وقت 25کے قریب پروڈیوسرزلاہور اسٹیشن پر کام کر رہے تھے۔ اس عظیم کام کو کرنے کے لئے اسٹیشن ڈائریکٹر کی نظر مجھ پر پڑی۔ حکم دیا کہ فوراً پروڈیوسر محمداعظم خان کو بلائیں۔ مجھے محترم بٹ صاحب نے کہا کہ میڈم نورجہاں آ رہی ہیں، آپ خود گیٹ پر جا کر ان کو ریسیو کریں اور فوراً میرے پاس لے آئیں۔ کچھ دیر کے بعد میڈم تشریف لے آئیں اور میں اسٹیشن ڈائریکٹر کے کمرے میں لے کر گیا۔ وہاں پر ایک اہم میٹنگ ہوئی جس میں اسٹیشن ڈائریکٹر، صوفی تبسم اور ناصر کاظمی موجود تھے۔ فیصلہ ہوا کہ آج کا دن ضائع نہ کیا جائے، آج ہی پہلا نغمہ ریکارڈ ہو جائے۔ میرے لئے بطور پروڈیوسر یہ بہت بڑا امتحان تھا اور عزت کی بات تھی۔ میں نے اﷲپاک سے دعا مانگی اور کام شروع کر دیا۔ مسئلہ یہ تھا کہ پہلا نغمہ کون سا ریکارڈ کیا جائے۔ میرے ذہن میں یہی آیا کہ وطن کے سپاہی کی شان میں نغمہ ہونا چاہئے۔ میرا دھیان فوراً صوفی تبسم کی طرف گیا کیونکہ وہ بہت عظیم شاعر تھے۔ میں نے درخواست کی کہ صوفی صاحب ہمیں سپاہی کی شان میں نغمہ لکھ کر دیں۔ صوفی صاحب نے کمال ذہانت کے ساتھ مجھے یہ نغمہ لکھ کر دیا۔ ’’میرا ڈھول سپاہیا تینوں رب دیاں رکھاں‘‘ میں فوراً اپنی ریکارڈنگ ٹیم جو میں نے تمام میوزیشن سے منتخب کی تھی، کو لے کر آڈیو سٹوڈیو میں چلا گیا۔ اتفاق سے اس دن میرے دوست اور کلاسیکی فنکار سلیم حسین آئے ہوئے تھے۔ ان سے میں نے درخواست کی کہ اس نغمے کی دھن بنائیں۔ سلیم حسین نے بہت مہارت اور خوبی سے اس کی دھن بنائی۔ حسن لطیف (کمپوزر) نے بھی اس میں مدد کی۔ اب مسئلہ انتروں کا کہ کم از کم تین انترے ہونے چاہئیں۔ میڈم نورجہاں نے کہا کہ اعظم انترہ لائیں۔ میں بھاگا بھاگا صوفی تبسم کے پاس گیا اور کہا نغمے کی دھن بن گئی ہے، انترے چاہئیں۔ مجھے صوفی صاحب نے جواب دیا بیٹا میرے اندر کوئی مشین لگی ہوئی ہے اوپر سے انترہ آئے گا تو لکھ کر دوں گا۔ تقریباً دو گھنٹے کے بعد انترہ لکھ کر دیا اور ساتھ ہی حکم دیامیرے لئے اور سگریٹ بھیج دو۔ اس طرح یہ نغمہ تمام دن میں لکھا گیا۔ کمپوز ہوا اور رات تک اس کی ریکارڈنگ مکمل ہوئی۔ مجھے بٹ صاحب یعنی ہمارے اسٹیشن ڈائریکٹر نے کہا کہ اپنے باقی تمام پروگراموں کی فکر چھوڑو اور صرف میڈم نورجہاں کو اٹینڈ کرو اور ان کا ہر طرح سے خیال رکھو۔ ناراض ہو کر نہ چلی جائیں۔ میرے لئے یہ بہت بڑا امتحان تھا کہ ملک کی سب سے بڑی اور مقبول فنکارہ کے ساتھ کام کرنے کا موقع ملا۔ میں نے اپنی ٹیم کے ساتھ نعرہ تکبیر بلند کیا اور پہلے نغمے کی ریکارڈنگ شروع کر دی۔ ریکارڈنگ مکمل ہونے کے بعد فوری طور پر اس کو تسلسل کے ساتھ نشر کرنے کا اہتمام کیا۔ صبح ہونے تک ہمیں اس نغمے کو بار بار نشر کرنے پر اچھا ریسپانس ملا اور ہماری ہمت بڑھ گئی اور اس نغمے کو سُن کر ہماری مسلح افواج کے جوانوں کے حوصلے بلند ہوئے اور لڑائی میں ایک نیا جوش و جذبہ پیدا ہو گیا۔


میں یہاں یہ بھی عرض کروں کہ موسیقی فطرت انسانی کا ازلی رجحان ہے اور اس کا دل و دماغ پر براہ راست اثر ہوتا ہے۔ یہ تھی پہلے نغمے کی کہانی اس طرح دوسرے نغموں کی کہانی آئندہ شمارے میں تحریر کروں گا۔

اے وطن
اے وطن تیرے ہمیشہ ہی وفا دار رہیں گے
تیری حرمت کے سدا یونہی طلب گار رہیں گے
وعدہ کرتے ہیں تیری خاک کو ہم لے کر آج
دل سے ہم تیری وفاؤں کے پرستار رہیں گے
آنے دیں گے نہ کبھی آنچ تیری دھرتی پر
دشمنوں کے لئے ہم صورتِ تلوار رہیں گے
تجھ پر ہم گیت کتابوں میں یونہی لکھیں گے
جاں نثاراں تیری زمیں کے‘ قلم کار رہیں گے
تیری سرحد کی حفاظت پہ ہیں مامور جواں
قوم سو جائے مگر یہ سدا بیدار رہیں گے

یاسمین کنول

*****

 
10
March

Returning to the Idea of Pakistani Nationalism

Published in Hilal English

Written By: Nadeem F. Paracha

After the complete fall of the Muslim empire in India in the 19th century CE, most Muslim thinkers responded to the fall rebuffing the putrefying reminiscences of their imperial past. They began to espouse certain notions of nationalism to find their place in the shifting standards of global order.
One main outlet of early Muslim nationalism in South Asia encouraged the embracement of ‘modern education’ and the sciences so that an educated and informed Muslim nation could emerge in India to face the challenges of British colonialism and the rise of Hindu nationalism.


This pursuit was academically driven by an emerging Muslim middle-class. It saw the Muslims of India as a distinct cultural unit, united by an urge to refresh its shared faith through a more rational reading of the Muslim sacred texts.

 

returinigtoidea.jpgA major element of this Muslim nationalism also undermined pan-Islamism because it believed that the ethos and social demeanor of Muslim culture in South Asia was largely separate from how Islam had evolved elsewhere. Pakistani nationalism, which emerged from this strand of Muslim nationalism, was thus inherently pluralistic. But politically it was exclusivist. Till the mid-1970s, the government and state institutions of Pakistan continued to explain Pakistani nationalism as a modernistic and progressive expression of Islam.


But some dire happenings, such as the East Pakistan debacle in 1971, split the Pakistani polity. An insistent feature of this polarization began to be expressed through certain convoluted pan-Islamist alternatives. These alternatives succeeded in prompting a popular response from a new generation of middle and lower-middle-class Pakistanis impacted by the 1971 debacle. The emerging pan-Islamic aspect of the changing notion of Pakistani nationalism was also backed by certain oil-rich Arab regimes who had seen modern Muslim nationalism as a hazard to their idea of faith and politics.


As a reaction to the mounting acceptance of this alternative version of Pakistani nationalism, the Pakistani state began to readjust the country’s ideological status quo by co-opting various features of pan-Islamism; even to the extent of forgoing many of the state’s original ideas of Pakistani nationalism. The gaps created by the gradual attrition of the original nationalist narrative began being filled by ideas which, ironically, had been shelved by the early Pakistani and Muslim nationalist intelligentsia.


The emerging alternative was opposed to the original Muslim nationalist narrative. It censured it for going against ‘Islamic universalism’. But many decades after such ideas managed to root themselves in the state and polity of Pakistan, the country was thrown in an existentialist catastrophe. For instance, many young Pakistanis today seem to be detached from the original ideas of Pakistani nationalism because as students they were bombarded by ideas of an amalgamated pan-Islamic version of Pakistani nationalism. A version which was never a part of the idea of Pakistani nationalism weaved by the country’s founders.

A refreshed version of the original notions of Pakistani nationalism just might help future generations of the country to feel more self-assured of being entities defined by their shared cultural heritage of a region that was encapsulated and bordered by coherent nationalist notions of state and society — and not as some convoluted bastion to bump-start a theological utopia from.

Many young Pakistani men and women are not quite sure what being a Pakistani today means. Does it mean being a citizen of a Muslim country which emerged along the mighty River Indus and is part of this area’s 5000-year-old history; or does it mean being a citizen of a pending universal theological idea?


Such a muddled mindset was impelled by the steady corrosion of the original idea of Pakistani nationalism, and the upsurge of a rather ambitious concept of a divergent idea of nationalism. This has also made a whole generation vulnerable to the ways of those who are now promising the same convoluted theological utopia, but through unparalleled violence against the state and its citizens.


Even though the Pakistani state now seems to have accepted the fact that much of the sectarian, ethnic and religious violence of the past many decades has been nurtured by a rather complicated and divergent version of Pakistan’s nationalist narrative (which we have been touting ever since the 1970s) there is still uncertainty about what could such a deep-seated narrative be replaced with.


I believe the solution is present in the increasingly elapsed elements of early Pakistani nationalism. A refreshed version of the original notions of Pakistani nationalism just might help future generations of the country to feel more self-assured of being entities defined by their shared cultural heritage of a region that was encapsulated and bordered by coherent nationalist notions of state and society — and not as some convoluted bastion to bump-start a theological utopia from.

 

The writer is a Pakistani journalist, cultural critic and satirist. He is the author of a detailed book on Pakistan’s ideological, political & social history, called ‘End of the Past.’

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

The great majority of us Muslims. We follow the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).... But make no mistake: Pakistan is not a theocracy or anything like it. Islam demands from us the tolerance of other creeds and we welcome in closest association with us all those who, of whatever creed, are themselves willing and ready to play their part as true and loyal citizens of Pakistan.

(Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Broadcast talk to the people of Australia, 19 February 1948)

 
26
December

Climate Change and Water Tower of Asia (A Scientific Perspective)

Published in Hilal English Jan 2014

Written By: Dr M. F. Khokhar and Lokhaiz Ali

Many glaciers and snowpacks around the world are receding. The rates and timing of glacial wasting, the volume of ice melt that causes a net loss of glacier volume, vary and the causes are complex. In most instances there are multiple influences that interact in complicated ways. Glaciers are retreating at different pace in different parts of the world and there are concerns about the consequences for available water supplies. The glaciers of the Hindu Kush-Himalayan (HKH) region are among the largest and most spectacular in the world. Although there is little scientific knowledge and information about the state of the glaciers of the HKH region, with repercussion for future water supplies, there is also significant uncertainty. Concern has been heightened by several highly visible decrees which upon examination proved to be highly qualitative, local in scale and/or to lack any credible scientific basis.

The Hindu Kush-Himalayan (HKH) region extends over 2,000 km from east to west across the Asian continent spanning several countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. This region is the source of numerous large Asian river systems, including the Indus, the Ganges, and the Brahmaputra, which provide water for over a billion people. The surface water of these rivers and associated groundwater constitute a significant strategic resource for all of Asia. Many of the countries in this region are already experiencing physical water scarcity. Existing water stress and projections of population growth have led to concern over possibilities of negative impacts from changes in the availability of water supplies in the coming decades. Water managers across the Himalayan region will confront a host of overlapping socioeconomic, environmental, and policy challenges as they strive to fulfil their societies' future water needs. In many of the great rivers that rise in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan mountains – the Amu Darya, Ganges, Indus, Yellow – total withdrawals nearly equal or even exceed long-term flow balances. Hundreds of millions of people today reside in basins that are essentially “closed.” All of their waters are already being used to meet various human demands and maintain vital ecosystems with little to no spare capacity left over.

The Hindu Kush-Himalayan region, including the Tibetan plateau, also functions as a complex interaction of “atmospheric, cryospheric, hydrological, geological and environmental processes that bear special significance for the Earth's biodiversity, climate and water cycles.” For example, the region plays a prominent role in generating the Asian monsoon system that sustains one of the largest populations on earth. These ecosystem services from the

Himalayan river basins also form the basis for a substantial portion of the region's total GDP (UNEP, 2012). Many studies state that the melting of glaciers is a clear indicator of climate change and note that glacier change is the most visible and obvious indicator of changing temperatures. Temperatures at some locations in the Himalayan region have risen faster than the global average. From 1982 to 2006, the average annual mean temperature in the region increased by 1.5 °C with an average increase of 0.06 °C per year, although the rate of warming varies across seasons and ecoregions. It stands to reason that the rising temperature in the Himalayas would affect glacier melt. However, uncertainty about the current state of Himalayan glaciers and the future state of the climate, as well as an incomplete understanding of the processes affecting Himalayan glaciers under the current climate, make any projections of climate change's impact on glaciers uncertain.

Despite inconsistencies in the published research, there is overall agreement that scenarios indicate a general decrease in ice volumes with retreats occurred mostly in the east, while in the west, the glaciers’ responses are complex, especially around the Karakoram region. Since the 1990s, expansion of some larger glaciers has been observed in the central Karakoram; and some have advanced and thickened indicating an apparently atypical climatic response. The current behaviour of Karakoram glaciers prevents drawing conclusions about how the glaciers will continue to respond in the Karakoram region in the future.

While data are lacking for a good understanding of the patterns of change in the glaciers of the Himalayas, there are some generalizations that can be made about the different regions of this vast area. Zone 1: Mainly in Afghanistan, this area has relatively stable or very slowly retreating glaciers. Zone 2: The Northwestern Himalayas including the Karakoram have highly varied glacier behaviour, with many surge glaciers, many advancing, stable, and retreating snouts and comparatively few large lakes. Glaciers in the Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan are generally retreating while further south, behaviour of the Karakoram glaciers is mixed, but lacking wholesale, rapid disintegration of glacier tongues and rampant lake growth. Zone 3: Mainly in India, southwestern Tibet and western Nepal, this area has mainly stagnating, retreating snouts and time variability with periods of slower retreat for some glaciers during parts of the 20th and 21st centuries. There are fewer lakes than in the eastern Himalayas, but large lakes may be a growing phenomenon as glaciers thin down and tend to stagnate.

Zone 4: Mainly Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim and southeastern Tibet, this area has many large glacier lakes, especially since the 1960s. Many glaciers are rapidly disintegrating as they stagnate and thin down. Glaciers on the south side generally have more debris cover than they do on the north side. A widely cited estimate shows considerable variation in the contribution of melt water across the river basins fed by Himalayan glaciers, although this varies seasonally and spatially. The importance of melted water contribution also varies by basin: it is extremely important to the Indus Basin, important for the Brahmaputra Basin, but plays modest roles for the Ganges, Yangtze and Yellow Rivers. By region, meltwater contributes 30 % to the total water flow in the eastern Himalayas, 50 % in the central and western Himalayas and 80 % in Karakoram.

There is another unique feature of Himalayan glaciers; Siachen Glacier, the highest battleground on earth, where India and Pakistan have fought intermittently since April 13, 1984. Both countries maintain permanent military presence in the region at a height of over 6,000 metres (20,000 ft). More than 2000 people have died in this inhospitable terrain, mostly due to weather extremes and the natural hazards of mountain warfare. India is controlling most part of the glacier, to include: 70 km long Siachen Glacier and all of its tributary glaciers, as well as the three main passes of the Saltoro Ridge immediately west of the Glacier – Sia La, Bilafond La, and Gyong La. Pakistan controls the glacial valleys immediately west of the Saltoro Ridge.

Indian military operations are not only causing the physical damage (digging trenches, clearing glaciers for settlements and roads for logistic purposes), but their activities have resulted into spewing substantial amount of green house gases and soot particles in such high altitude region of Siachen. This may consequent in further warmer temperature, glacial lake formation and finally accelerating the glacier mass depletion rate. A recent study by Rasull et al., (2008) observed rise in temperature of 4°C over the time period of 1991-2004 and attributed this increase to the presence of army, large vehicular movement and allied activities to setup infrastructure for settlement and logistic purposes (e.g. Rohtang Tunnel etc.) in the area of Siachen Glacier. They further elaborated that human presence in the region has resulted in the thinning of ice and retreat of glacial extent at an alarming rate.

The decay estimates calculated by remote sensing techniques suggests that Siachen Glacier has reduced by 1.9 km in longitudinal extent from 1989 to 2006 along with 17 % thinning of the glacier mass. Additionally, it has resulted in increased number of avalanches in the region. For instance, on 7 April 2012, an avalanche hit a Pakistani military headquarters in the area, burying over 140 Pakistani soldiers and civilian contractors. Beside the frequent natural hazards, the military intervention at Siachen Glacier has also been affecting the neighbouring glaciers such as Gangotri, Miyar, Milan and Janapa which feed huge mass of population downstream on both Indian and Pakistan sides.

In the current scenario of climate change impacts on glaciers; the military withdrawal from Siachen region is mandatory to avoid the foreseen threats of human causalities and Himalayan glaciers retreat. After Gayari incident (avalanche) of April 2012, the then COAS, Gen Kayani offered India to demilitarize Siachen on bilateral basis. Apart from that, Indian military preparedness regarding Siachen Glacier clearly indicates that there is absolutely no sign from the Indian side to withdraw from world's highest battlefield and relocate them according to the 1989 agreement. India needs to think on these lines and plan to vacate the glaciated area as offered by Pakistan. Indians should stop causing environmental havoc to the region. The earlier, the better!

Dr Faheem is a PhD and on the faculty of Institute of Environmental Sciences and Engineering (IESE) at NUST. Mr Lokhaiz is a PhD Scholar at NUST. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
26
December

Towards a Green Pakistan

Published in Hilal English Jan 2014

Written By: Lt Col Shah Jahan

Air pollution is continuously affecting the human health adversely. The degenerating conditions of the atmosphere due to reduction of Ozone gas layer are accelerating the level of carbon dioxide beyond acceptable limits which is highly injurious to human life and the plants. It is well established fact that air pollution can be controlled effectively by intensive afforestation. The earth conferences held in Brazil and USA during 1992 and 1997 respectively have also affirmed the need for a large scale afforestation programme throughout the World.

In 1994, Government of Pakistan (Ministry of Environment) planned excessive afforestation in order to increase forest cover in the country which was less than 6% of total area at that time. Afforestation greatly contributes towards national economy both directly and indirectly. It facilitates overall pollution control, environment protection and natural camouflage & concealment during war. In order to achieve these objectives, Pakistan Army, to assist civil government, has always been at the forefront to take active part in trees' – plantation campaigns both inside the cantonments' limits and outside.

Pakistan Army was assigned to plan and implement this project in different areas. Rachna Doab Afforestation Project commonly known as RDAP, was undertaken by Pak Army initially in Punjab. The afforestation on 34,407 Acres / Avenue Miles (AVM) is continuing since July 1995 onward. The Project was suspended in June 2011 due to devolution of sponsoring ministry to the provinces under the 18th Amendment in the Constitution. However, units / formations are determined to achieve the designated goal gradually even without the provision of Government funds. Above 80 % survival rate of planted trees has been achieved as assessed by 'Monitoring and Evaluation' (M&E) team of Federal Government comprising members from the Planning Commission,

Ministry of Environment, Punjab Forest Department and Pakistan Forest Institute Peshawar. Extracts from the M&E report prepared by Dr Raza Ul Haq (Central Silviculturist), Pakistan Forest Institute, Peshawar during April – May 2003 are:- “Some of the acquired land was under the control of illegal occupants. The recovery of these lands and its afforestation was a creditable job done by the Army.” (Page 1 of Report.)

“It is a matter of great satisfaction that the physical targets in the field are going according to schedule and in some cases advance progress of work has been observed during the visit. This is due to the sincere and devoted efforts of the team responsible for the afforestation programme deputed on the job by Mangla Corps. Acquisition of land and timely completion of physical targets is commendable job. (Page 7-8 of Report) Afforestation on 250 sites in ten civil districts of Punjab province has definitely improved the ecology of these areas to a great extent.

The eco-system has been restored on barren, arid, water-logged and saline-sodic soils handed over by government departments to the Army. The planted lands are showing topographically, edaphically, climatically and ecologically changes which are quite visible now when juvenile plants and saplings have turned into thick forests. The lands prior to plantation under RDAP had been encroached. After retrieval of illegally occupied lands, plantation with numerous species has been carried out in the most planned manner. The main planted species are Shisham, Eucalyptus, Kikar, Siris, Bakain, Jaman, Willow, Sukh Chain, Ipple Ipple etc. Bed / potted nurseries containing thousands of plants were raised by the respective formations in afforestation areas as well as in respective cantonments for meeting the requirements of fresh plantation / re-stocking.

The officers and men affiliated with the project have worked day and night to make it a success story. Till now, 17 soldiers have laid their lives during the execution of this gigantic project. RDAP besides, increasing the percentage of jungles in the country, will go a long way in improving the environment of the areas.

Follow Us On Twitter