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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has received $120 million from World Bank for Green Stimulus project, to be launched by Prime Minister Imran Khan next month, that would create 200,000 jobs— and the government would achieve the countrywide target of planting 1.5 billion trees by the end of this year.

These details were shared by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam in a presser here on Wednesday.

“Pakistan is the only country in the world to have received $ 120 million from World Bank for Green Stimulus project. All the preparatory work is done in collaboration with the provinces — the planning is complete and everything is ready — Green Stimulus programme would be launched by the PM in October (next month),” he said adding that the project would help create not less than 200,000 jobs.

Some 85,000 jobs have had been created under 10 Billion Tree Tsunami initiative in Pakistan during the ongoing Covid period, Aslam said.

Overall, some 500,000 jobs were created under this project in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where the target of 1 billion tree plantation has already been achieved, he said, adding that the government was all set to achieve the target of 1.5 billion trees across the country by the end of 2021.

“It is said that ‘these are just trees’—but there is much more to it than meets the eye….there is a famous saying ‘When you invest in nature, you are doing God’s work…so when we grow trees, we have Allah’s blessing with us—tree plantation creates massive job opportunities,” the SAPM said.

Green Stimulus initiative comes under the umbrella of 10 Billion Trees Tsunami that also oversees other significant projects like Olive Tree Tsunami, Billion Tree Honey, Mangrove Forests and Electric Vehicles, according to the PM’s aide.

He said Protected Area Initiative was launched in the Covid period and 15 national parks have been established under this project, raising the number of national parks from 30 to 45.

The SAPM disclosed that “Pakistan’s relationship with brotherly state of Saudi Arabia had lately turned cold but our green diplomacy helped restore the warm ties due to 10 Billion Tree Tsunami project.”

Saudi crown prince, he said, has launched a similar project like 10 Billion Tree Tsunami in Saudi Arabia. “Pakistan is the main player in helping Saudi Arabia with this project. A concrete Memorandum of Understanding is being signed in this regard. PM Imran Khan has been invited to visit Saudi Arabia in connection with this project in October,” Aslam said.

“This will help create massive job opportunities in Pakistan.”

Pakistan’s achievements in the field of environment have helped cement its relationship with the United States as well, the special assistant said.

“Pak-US relationship was always seen from security prism. Now there is a joint working group between Pakistan and the US on green collaboration…These trees are doing diplomacy for us,” he remarked.

The SAPM went to the extent so as to suggest, “With the prayers of these trees, PM Imran Khan would be elected to government for another five-year term.”

He added, “These trees have become the face of Pakistan worldwide…Across the globe, the term 10 Billion Tree Tsunami has become synonymous to PM Khan.”

The PM received a letter on Tuesday from United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Inger Andersen wherein she was highly appreciative of Pakistan’s contribution to improving environment and hosting “most successful World Environment Day in its history,” Aslam said.

Pakistan hosted World Environment Day (June 5) this year.

In her letter, the UNEP chief informed the PM that Pakistan’s World Environment Day telecast was watched by 170 million people worldwide; 45,000 articles were written in 37 languages in 74 countries related to this event; some 160 million people across the globe participated in trends and hashtags on social media related to World Environment Day and 1.5 million people watched live streaming of this event on UNEP’s web page.

“This is just unprecedented because the entire world acknowledges and appreciates the wonders we have done in the field of environment,” Aslam said.

Taking a jibe at opposition parties, the SAPM said, “The entire world is appreciating us….But the only one dismissive of our achievements is opposition. I urge them to take off the glasses of prejudice and join hands with us to improve environment.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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