Expressing satisfaction over government’s policy of smart lockdown and the public response against coronavirus pandemic, which resulted in bringing down the daily caseload, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday asked the people to strictly follow the standard operating procedures (SOPs) as the coronavirus threat was not over. Addressing a big gathering of volunteers of the Tiger Force and people from different walk of life at Korang Park, the prime minister stressed upon maintaining social distance and wearing of masks in public places. He said the world acknowledged the government’s steps to control coronavirus and he also lauded efforts of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), Tiger Force and his health team for making hectic efforts in this regard. The prime minister asked the nation to follow these SOPs during the upcoming month of Muharram ul Haram. The prime minister said that unanimous decisions by the nation always yielded positive results and referred to country’s success in containing the coronavirus pandemic. Imran Khan urged the nation to fully participate in tree plantation drive to revert the environmental degradation in the country which posed a serious threat to its crops, terrains and livelihood. The prime minister said the climate change was also affecting the country as they had witnessed a reduction of 1.5 million tonnes in wheat production in the current year because the rainfall adversely affected the crop. The prime minister planted a sapling to formally launch country’s biggest tree plantation campaign targeting around 3.5 million trees across the country on Tiger Force day observed on August 9. The prime minister further said the changes were occurring because of climatic changes, he said, urging the nation to realize its true potential and come forward to share their responsibility in arresting deforestation of the country. About 80 percent of the glaciers in the country were facing the risk of melting which could increase desertification in the catchment areas if drastic steps were not taken, he warned. He said that the biggest charitable act a person can do now, when the whole world is ravaged by the effects of climate change, is to plant a tree. “It is our collective responsibility to try our best to make Pakistan a green country for the future of our children. These 3.5 million trees are only the beginning; this will be a constant effort,” he said. The prime minister also underlined the need to control pollution in the Rawal Lake which provided water to adjacent Rawalpindi city. Earlier, Advisor to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam said that about 3.5 million saplings were planted across the country on Sunday. He said Pakistan was the 5th most vulnerable country in the world facing the negative effects of climate change. Referring to a World Bank’s report on climate change, he called for immediate action to arrest the environmental degradation because the report had identified six districts of Pakistan as ‘hotspots’ which would become inhabitable in future due to rising temperatures. These districts included Hyderabad, Sukkur and Mirpur Khas in Sindh province and Lahore, Faisalabad and Multan in Punjab province. A large number of people including Tiger Force volunteers planted different saplings in and around the park. The government had announced to observe August 9 as ‘Tiger Force Day’ across Pakistan when over a million volunteers along with government would plant trees as part of 10 Billion Tree Tsunami initiative. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan directed the authorities concerned to take immediate steps to set up five model Panahgahs in Islamabad in light of the proposed organizational structure. Chairing a review meeting regarding improvement in standard of Panahgahs in Islamabad on Sunday, he said the model Panahgahs should be replicated in the provinces. He asked the authorities to train the staff working at Panahgahs to improve its standard. The prime minister directed for ensuring effective coordination between the federation and the provinces under an integrated strategy for sustainable and quality facilities at Panahgahs. Special Assistant for Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection Dr. Sania Nishtar presented the proposed organizational structure to make the management of shelters more organized and sustainable. Also, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz said on Sunday planting trees was Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). In a tweet, he urged the people to participate in this good deed and make Prime Minister Imran Khan’s tree plantation project a success.