I went to Islamabad and Changla Gali last week. Although it was great to get away from Lahore, there were a few things that disturbed me. On the motorway, on my way to Islamabad, I saw that a vast amount of Punjab’s green fields had been stripped away to make room for concrete jungles. The whole motorway, in fact, was much less green than I remember it. Admittedly I haven’t been on it for years, but it was a huge shock.

Then, on my way to Changla Gali, I noticed that whole mountain – technically foothills, but taller than most mountains- have been stripped bare. There are no trees; they are completely and totally barren. All the pine trees have been cut down, for what I do not know, but it is shocking.

I remember the Muree hills as mountains that were lusciously green and beautiful. There are now also quite overcrowded. The house I was staying in was made after cutting down only 3 trees whereas many houses in the area, belonging to well known individuals, have been made after cutting down many, many trees and much destruction. The dark nights, which used to provide me with much solitude as a child, are not dark anymore- there is a lot of light from the numerous houses. I wanted to sit outside and gaze at the stars, and yes there were many more than one can see from Lahore, but it’s not as much fun as it used to be.

The trees need to be replanted. Those hills cannot remain barren. We cannot do this.