Quetta - January 06, 2011 Ms. Aban Marker Kabraji, IUCN Regional Director Asia along with Mr. Shah Murad Aliani, Country Representative IUCN Pakistan met Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi, Governor of Balochistan at the Governor House.
During the meeting the Governor appreciated efforts of IUCN in the province for the protection of environment. Ms. Kabraji apprised the governor on the history, mission and objectives of IUCN. She informed that IUCN has developed Balochistan Conservation Strategy (BCS) as a strategic plan and long term agenda which places particular emphasis on the need to protect the environment and natural resources of the province. She further informed that the technical assistance extended for facilitation to the Government of Balochistan in implementation of BCS a two-year programme was launched in 2002, under which a number of field projects and interventions have been completed in different areas including: wild and marine life protection, improvement of rangelands, management of water resources and plantation of mangroves along the Balochistan coast. The economical and ecological benefits of these interventions for both fisheries and marine life are now more visible.
She also briefed about IUCN’s work on water and informed that it is closely working with the communities at the grass root level in identifying and prioritizing the issues related to water and technical assistance being provided on the need basis throughout the province. The Governor inquired about the potential areas and sources of underground water. He suggested that instead of working in the areas where underground water has already depleted, initiatives should be taken in the areas where opportunities of conservation and rehabilitation are higher. He proposed the areas of district Bolan, Moola and Panjgoor where thousands of karezes of ancient times are housed, but somehow silted up or interconnecting tunnels have chocked due to lack of attention.
IUCN was invited by the Governor to visit Bolan District to identify and explore the potential of work in the water sector particularly in rehabilitation of Karezes and check dams. He assured his support and all the possible assistance during the visit.
Replying to a query by the Governor regarding presence of wild animals in the Hingol National Park, Mr. Shah Murad Aliani informed that IUCN is contemplating to protect the indigenous and endemic species of wildlife of entire Balochistan particularly in Hingol National Park and hence planning to initiate joint programmes with the Balochistan Forest and Wildlife Department.
The Governor shared the information with the IUCN delegation that there are more than a thousand Ibex and other wild animal species in his personal sanctuary in District Jhal Magsi that are being protected and managed by him. Ms. Aban Marker appreciated the individual efforts of the Governor and also mentioned of Torghar Mountains at Qila Saifulla and Zhob where innumerable wildlife is being protected and conserved especially the Suleman Markhor and Ibex by a renowned conservationist Sardar Naseer Tareen whose work has been acknowledged worldwide. She suggested that Trophy Hunting can be introduced in Jhal Magsi on the same pattern adopted in Torghar and Northern Areas through a proper system.
The issue of environmental concerns with regard to proposed and on-going mega projects in Balochistan was raised by the Regional Director IUCN Asia. The Governor was also assured of IUCN’s technical support in assessing the environmental concerns whenever the need arises. The Governor appreciated the efforts and contribution of IUCN for conservation and hoped that the field projects and interventions carried out by IUCN would have positive impact on the overall environment of the province and the proposed suggestions and plans would also be considered.