The Pakistan Environment Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2023 introduced by Senator Seemee Ezdi was passed unanimously by members in a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Climate Change that was held on Tuesday at Parliament House Islamabad. Senator Seemi Ezdi chaired the meeting; that was attended by Senator Khalida Ateeb, Senator Keshoo Bai, Senator Abida Muhammad Azeem, Senator Taj Haider, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Senator Kamran Michael and senior officers of the Ministry of Climate Change along with its attached departments and agencies.
Issues taken up entailed the leopard roaming in a residential area in Islamabad; Budgetary proposals relating Public Sector Development Fund (PSDP) and the Pakistan Environment Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2023.
While discussing budgetary proposals relating to the Public Sector Development Fund (PSDP), the Committee was informed of the various projects that were being funded and its proposed allocation. Proposed budget FY 2023-24 was PKR 19,787.875 million. The Committee was informed that a total of 8 projects are part of PSDP including three on-going projects namely climate resilient urban settlements unit, ten billion trees tsunami programme phase-I up scaling of Green Pakistan Programme and Capacity Building on Water Quality Monitoring and SDG 6 Reporting whereas 5 new projects are establishment of Margallah Wildlife Center, Islamabad, establishment of National Specialized Directorate for Chemical & Hazardous Waste Management, Strengthening of National Capacities through piloting of REDD+ for Accessing Result Based Payments, Zoological Survey of Pakistan and Compilation of Red Data Book and establishment of Botanical Garden at Banigala, Islamabad. The Committee recommended at the consideration stage if there are any budgetary constraints then the Ministry should prioritize the on-going projects.
The Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) briefed the Committee about the incident. The Committee was informed that after the rescue the Leopard is in good health and the matter is currently under investigation whether the leopard was kept domestically by someone or whether it moved from an adjacent wildlife habitat. The delays in rescue operation were due to lack of adequate and appropriate equipment. The Committee was informed that officials and a volunteer of IWMB took part in the operation. The committee lauded the efforts IWMB. The Committee while discussing the matter of closure of the Islamabad Zoo stressed the need for it to be reopened for the pleasure of the people of Islamabad. It was asserted that core issues must be addressed instead shutting down recreational places in the city.