Spearhead Special Report – 01.10.2018

By Syed Murtaza Zaidi
Research Analyst, Spearhead Research

Climate PakistanA few months before the 2013 elections, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) unveiled its National Climate Change Policy amid much fanfare, and claimed that they were the first political party in Pakistan’s history to formulate such a policy aimed to limit the effects of climate change and preserve the environment. Even though the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) had highlighted the importance of protecting the natural resources at Pakistan’s disposal during the 2008 election cycle, they made no practical moves in this regard, and the subsequent Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) government failed to achieve anything major either.

While Imran Khan has shared his own commitment to see that every effort is made to mitigate the effects of climate change, the initiative itself is being led by Malik Amin Aslam- the advisor to the Prime Minister on climate change. He was a former State Minister for Environment under Gen Pervez Musharraf’s regime, and a member of the PMLQ, before he joined the PTI in 2011. He has a Masters in Environmental Management from Oxford University, and has been the leading expert in the field of environment conservation in Pakistan for over two decades. In this capacity, he has worked at the World Bank and the UN, and was a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. After joining Imran Khan, he spearheaded the PTI’s environment policy mandate, and seems to be a competent and experienced candidate to lead Pakistan’s green initiatives.   

During the PMLN’s tenure, the PTI introduced a few green programs in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) that were not only appreciated within the country, but across the globe, primarily their Billion Tree Tsunami drive. Costing an estimated $170 million, the project restored over 350,000 hectares of trees through planting and natural regeneration, and more importantly for PTI and Imran Khan’s political ambitions, showcased to the citizens of the country that here was finally a political party that could fulfill its promises, and implement actual change across the nation. It became a valuable component of PTI’s election campaign in 2018, with the party promising to expand the program across Pakistan, as well as introduce several new green initiatives that would create jobs, and help fight the growing menace of climate change.