LOWER DIR: The people of tehsil Khal in Lower Dir on Friday held a protest demonstration against illegal cutting of forest wood and establishment of a forest check post in the area.

Activists of different political parties and area elders and social activists took part in the protest. People from Khal, Tormang Darra and Sultankhel gathered at Goplam Khal area and staged protest against establishment of forest check post in Goplam Khal and illegal cutting and smuggling of forest wood.

Addressing the protesters, Malik Muhammad Zeb, Malik Jehanzeb, Malik Naqeebullah, Shad Nawaz Khan, Malik Fazlur Rehman, Akhunzada Sikandar and other elders said they will not allow establishment of forest check post in Goplam Khal area. They alleged that the Forest Department hasn’t established this check post to stop timber smuggling, rather they have established it for their own benefit. They alleged that the check post will be used for negative purposes.

The area elders said there are already many forest check posts Khal tehsil and no more check posts are needed. They alleged that timber smuggling is underway openly in official vehicles and illegal cutting of forests is also going on continuously. They said timber smuggling is going on, while area people are not allowed to cut wood for their needs. They said timber mafia is openly doing timber smuggling in broad day light, while the Forest Department has failed to stop smuggling.

People of the area demanded that the Forest Department immediately reverse the decision of establishing check post in Goplam Khal. They threatened that they will forcibly abolish the check post if it was not removed. They warned that the Forest Department will be responsible for any untoward incident if it failed to remove the check post.

Criminal shot dead in Upper Dir encounter

A proclaimed offender was killed in an encounter with police in Upper Dir on Friday.

Police said the accused, Shah Muhammad was wanted in over a dozen cases of murder and attempted murder. The accused opened fire on a police party in Nehag Darra and he was killed in retaliatory fire by police. Police claimed that five accomplices of the accused have also been arrested and they are under investigation.