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Pak lets UN team assess loss of trees in Balakot; bars meeting with Hafiz Saeed

File photo: Pakistan PM Imran Khan. Photograph:( AFP )

WION New Delhi/Islamabad Mar 08, 2019, 06.21 PM (IST) Written By: Anas Mallick , Sidhant Sibal

In what seems to be a curious case of irony, Pakistan took a team of United Nations and World Wildlife Fund to Balakot to assess the damage done to trees in the aftermath of India's strikes on Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camps, however, it did not allow the UN ombudsman to meet 26/11 mastermind, Hafiz Saeed. The move, yet again, exposes Pakistan's dual policy on terror.

Officials from Pakistan's Ministry of Climate Change told WION that a team of United Nations and World Wildlife Fund visited Balakot to take an account on the loss of trees in the strikes on Thursday. A follow up visit happened on Friday.

These were UN diplomats from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) who are stationed in Islamabad. Pakistan has claimed that 19 trees were damaged in the strikes by India and were part of a project called "Billion Tree Tsunami" launched by its government.

Pak Prime Minister's advisor and federal minister on climate change Malik Amin Aslam said, "UN's environment assembly is in Nairobi next week, we will raise the issue... expose India".

When asked about Pakistan involving the UN on the trees damaged by Balakot strikes, India's environment minister Harsh Vardhan said, "it is not worth commenting".

The development comes even as Islamabad denied a visa to UN ombudsman to "interview" Hafiz Saeed who had applied for his delisting from the UN terror list. 

For a delisting, the applicant has to be personally interviewed by UN ombudsman for which they wanted to travel to Pakistan. The UN official had to settle for a video interview of Hafiz Saeed who was informed about the UN decision not to delist him on March 6.

There has not been any reaction from Pakistan's foreign office as to why they did not give UN ombudsman visa to travel to the country.

It is believed that Islamabad feared that any UN official's meet with Hafiz Saeed could have led to more issues for the country which is under global pressure to act on terrorist groups it has been supporting.

Story highlights

When asked about Pakistan involving the UN on the trees damaged by Balakot strikes, India's environment minister Harsh Vardhan said, 'it is not worth commenting'.