- The weak legal framework and Judicial System is also responsible increase of illegal timber cutting.
- The increase demand of timber for furniture, paper, matchbox and for constructions purposes even from foreign countries like Afghanistan the timber Mafia is extra ordinarily involved for felling of the trees to gain un matched financial gains.
Some Interesting Techniques to smuggle timber
The trees which are fallen illegally are sent through the rivers, like Saran and Khunhar to the big lakes like Tarbaila and Mangla from there are moved out to other desired places with the active connivance of the forest officials, the land route is avoided so that minimum possible checking be experienced.
The timber mafia also selects some festival or occasion for smuggling. They position the processed logs on the floor of the vehicles and place people or luggage on its top to show that the vehicle is going for said ceremony.
The smugglers also take shelter of the movement of big gathering of public which goes for attending political gatherings so as to avoid checking.
The illegal logs are also smuggled on donkeys and mules through the rugged Mountains in order to avoid the roads links.
Route used for Timber Smuggling:
The Tarbaila Lake is the most safest route for high-tech organized timbers smugglers who run back to back by the influential figures of, Mansahra ,Batagram, Torghur and Kohistan districts.
The illegal fallen trees are processed to wooden logs by smugglers with in the range of forest from there are transported to the area of the Haripur through Tarbaila Lake.
In Swat, Dir, and Nowshehra, during the floods the smugglers have taken away huge quantity of logs and due to that River Panjhkora contained so much of the wood at one time that the surface of the river turned black.
Effects of Illegal Timber Business
The Illegal Timber business involves cutting of the trees which results in massive deforestation and have deep and lasting effects on environment, flora and fauna, national economy, social fabric of the society. Few of the ill effects are as follows:
- It results in negative environment effects. As it leads to soil erosion, increase of temperature and also tree/forests which acts as barrier for the floods when are not in desired number, it leads to devastation like floods of 2010 and 2011. The international media has widely reported that unprecedented floods of 2010 are due to the massive deforestation occurred in Pakistan specially in the Northern areas.
- Deforestation also disturbs flora and fauna. Majority of the rare species are near the verge of extinction in the area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Azad Jammu & Kashmir because of the deforestation.
- The incidents of landslides have increased in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Azad Jammu & Kashmir since last decade mainly due to the soil erosion because of the deforestation.
- The global impact of warming has also seen because of the deforestation as the temperature has on average increased for about 0.84 Celsius in northern parts of Pakistan because of the deforestation.
- The illegal logging also destroys national economy as billions of the rupees go unaccounted for.
There is a wide perception that the Timber Mafia in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Azad Jammu & Kashmir cannot operate without the help of the government functionaries. The officials who are responsible to safeguard the forests are themselves involved in massive felling of the trees and Timber Mafia is carrying out its nefarious activities in collusion with them.
The fact of the involvement of government functionaries can also be supported from the newspapers where on daily basis one or other incident of their involvement is highlighted. Lets analyze some of the cases to corroborate thesis hypothesis.