The recent murder of on duty wildlife guard, Safeer Hussain who was shot dead by unidentified people in the Margalla Hills National Park has shocked the residents of the Federal Capital. Hussain was killed by unknown men at a distance of about three kilometers from Faisal Mosque, near Trail-6 (hiking trail). According to details a number of guards were patrolling the area when they spotted a group of villagers illegally grazing goats. The guards ordered the herders to move their animals down the hilly area. On their way down, someone from an unknown location opened fire on the guards. A bullet hit Hussain in the head, killing him on the spot. Reportedly, merely 17 guards are tasked with the duty to keep an eye on the large stretch of area from Bari Imam to Shah Allah Ditta that falls within the park.
The various trails in the park including the Trail 6 where the incident happened are frequented by hundreds of trekking enthusiasts every week. The unprovoked murder has once against highlighted the dangerous conditions under which these guards operate with barely any facilities. It is high time that the city administration and relevant authorities equip these guards with better facilities and increase their strength. Having a handful of guards to keep such a vast stretch of land under check shows the non-seriousness of the concerned authorities. The murder has also raised concerns regarding the safety of other guards and the citizens who visit these trails. The city administration must take immediate steps to ensure that the culprits behind the murder are arrested at the earliest and ensure that the lives of citizens who visit these trails are not put at risk. The Margalla Hills National Park was already under immense threat from Illegal urban encroachments, poaching, and tree chopping but now even the safety of its protectors and the citizens who visit it has been put at risk. The incident has also highlighted the immense risk the handful of hardworking wildlife guards face every day for the protection of the park. The local administration should also consider providing financial aid to Safeer Hussain’s family, this is the least that can do for his family that has been dealt an irreparable loss.