As Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan launched the 10 Billion Tree Plantation Drive in the country on August 9, a video of residents of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province uprooting the freshly planted samplings went viral.
According to Pakistani media reports, residents of the Khyber district's Bara area staged a protest after the district administration inaugurated the campaign. Local elders gathered at the site and said that the drive had been launched on their land, claiming that the government wished to deprive them of their land.
Sharing a video of the scene, tweep @NKMalazai wrote: “Meanwhile, on the day of plantation In Khyber Tribal district.”
Speaking to local news outlets, a district administration official said that there was a dispute between two tribes over the ownership of the land. "One of the parties was present when the campaign was inaugurated, while the other was unaware about the drive and uprooted the saplings," he was quoted as saying.
The crowd attacked district administration officials, Tiger Force volunteers and uprooted saplings. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister also took notice of the incident.
Authorities take notice
According to Pakistan media reports, after videos of the incident went viral, authorities took action. Those involved were offered an option to fix what they had done.
The men had to plant trees in place of the saplings they destroyed. They were also made to promise to plant even more trees on the land.
A video of locals replanting the saplings was posted online.
Tweep @PromoterBoxing posted: “KPK (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) government has taken action against the offenders involved in damaging plants in Khyber District earlier in the morning! The residents apologised on their behalf and not only they are replanting the trees but also promised to plant more trees.”
Khan launched the country's largest tree plantation campaign on Sunday with the aim of planting 3.5 million saplings in the country in a single day.
Tweeting on August 8, Khan, ImranKhanPTI, wrote: “I want everyone to join me tomorrow, August 9, in planting trees all over Pakistan. Have asked my (member of parliament) MPs, ministers, chief ministers and Tiger Force to participate in the biggest tree planting campaign in our history. The target is 35 lakh trees in a day though we will try to exceed it.”