WWF Pakistan condemns killing of Margalla Hills National Park’s forest guard


ISLAMABAD: WWF Pakistan has strongly condemned the brutal killing of Safeer Shah, a forest guard of the Margalla Hills National Park, who was shot while on duty after taking an action against the illegal grazing of goats in the park.

The organisation in a statement has said it stands in solidarity with the colleagues of the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board, and while assuring full support has urged a stringent punishment and legal action against the culprits.

Safeer Shah who along with other colleagues was on patrol to remove animals grazing from Trail-6 of the Margalla Hills National Park (MHNP) when the team came under fire from an unknown gunman. Being at the front of the patrolling unit, Safeer the full brunt of the gunfire and died on the spot.

Responding to the tragic incident, WWF Pakistan DG Hammad Naqi Khan, expressed grief over Safeer’s murder.

Commenting on the challenges faced by the field staff of wildlife and forests departments, he said that the unsung conservation heroes regularly pay with their lives while trying to protect wildlife. Hammad also highlighted the dire need to improve government policies and provide the staff with a safe working environment.

Expressing shock that how such an incident could happen in the capital city, less than a kilometre away from relevant law enforcement institutions, Hammad urged the capital’s administration to provide sufficient protection to the staff while on duty.

Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) Chairman Dr Anis-u-Rehman called for immediate action against the culprits, adding that all stakeholders should join hands to fight against poachers and hunters.

“These are the real conservation heroes who would always be remembered,” he added.

WWF-Pakistan in collaboration with the ministry of climate change and provincial wildlife departments is in the process of establishing a national wildlife crime monitoring network. The organisation also plans to conduct the first Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool training in Pakistan in collaboration with relevant wildlife and forest departments to equip forest and wildlife rangers with the latest technology-driven solutions to control poaching and trafficking.