Did extremists in Pakistan really uproot “un-Islamic” trees?

Become an Observer A video posted on Twitter on August 9 shows about a hundred people ripping out newly

توسط NEWSPISHGAMANNN در 23 مرداد 1399
A video posted on Twitter on August 9 shows about a hundred people ripping out newly planted saplings in Pakistan. While the video is authentic, the caption claiming that the video shows Islamic extremists uprooting trees that they think are “un-Islamic” is totally false. The real story comes down to a rivalry between two tribes.

The video, which is just over a minute long, shows approximately one hundred people uprooting freshly-planted saplings. “Planting trees is against Islam,” reads the caption on one of the most widely circulated posts featuring this video. The author of this post, who lives in India, says the footage was filmed in Pakistan, a majority Muslim country. The post was retweeted more than 10,000 times and has so far garnered more than two million views.

Shortly after social media users in India first started circulating this video online, it was picked up by people in Iran and in far-right groups in France who mocked the men uprooting trees for supposedly religious reasons.

Why it’s false

On August 9, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan officially launched a vast tree-planting campaign across the country, with the aim of planting 3.5 million trees in a single day. Local officials were told to choose appropriate locations for the trees in their home regions. In Khyber, a district in northern Pakistan, local authorities designated an abandoned piece of land for the trees.
This screengrab shows the area in Khyber chosen for trees. The land is actually disputed by two tribes in the district.

That day, a group of volunteers calling themselves the “Tiger Forces” planted thousands of trees in the designated zone. But just a few hours later, hundreds of people came and ripped out the newly planted saplings.
"What happened has nothing to do with Islam or any other ideology”
Our Observer Umar Farooq lives in Khyber, Pakistan. He wasn’t an eyewitness to the incident, but he knows the region well.
What happened has nothing to do with Islam or any other ideology. The local authorities decided to plant trees on an arid strip of land that is claimed by two different local tribes, the Sipah and the Ghabi Khali. The local authorities have already negotiated with the Khali tribe and they were ok with the government about planting trees here, meanwhile the local authorities did not [do] the same with [the] Sipah tribe. However while some of the members of the Sipah tribe were ok with using this space to plant trees, others weren’t. They are the ones who came and ripped up all the newly planted trees.

That afternoon, elders from the Sipah tribe came to replant the trees. They also apologized for the younger members of their tribe, even though the damage was already done. 


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