ISLAMABAD While the criminal connivance of the influential government functionaries, local bureaucracy and timber mafia has resulted in complete elimination of forests in Kohistan, all those government officials who stood in the mafias way were made to pay through the nose. TheNation is in possession of a list of the names of a dozen honest government officials who were victimised for having dared to raise voice against all the powerful timber mafia. Some of very honest and competent officials in law enforcement agencies, forest department, Pakistans Customs and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) who had refused to subscribe to the highhandedness of the timber moguls, had to face suspensions, punishments, registration of fake cases and politically motivated administrative inquiries against them. Instances have been reported when some very dedicated police and forest officers in Kohistan and Haripur were sidelined (aligned in khudda line) for they refused to accept lucrative bribes and comply with timber racket. This is a vicious nexus and an all powerful circle that is rotten to the core. The local leaders of various political parties have a role in timber smuggling. They run their empires and get their shares, some of the victimised officials told TheNation. A Member Provincial Assembly (MPA) in that area had raised voice against the timber mafia in Musharrafs era. The said MPA had prepared a comprehensive case against timber smuggling and provided all the proofs and relevant details to the NAB. In the previous regime, action was initiated against the timber mafia but with the change in Government and reckless efforts of the incumbent ruling regime to chop off NABs powers, the omnipotent timber nexus has conveniently managed to guide this issue into abeyance. Former Chairman NAB Naveed Ahsan had directed the NAB officials not to 'interfere in the matters of Provincial Forest Department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa thus allowing the timber black market to flourish freely. The power of the timber racket in Kohistan can be gauged from the fact that even the prominent political leaders of that area, who spoke to TheNation, requested anonymity as naming them on this issue could put their lives at risk. Kohistan, once a forest rich district of Hazara region, now wears a desert like look as far as its natural serenity is concerned, on account of the complete elimination of timber forests from the area. A federal minister and his brother have reportedly exploited the flood situation to the maximum, to grab the timber windfalls. Paalas, Pattan, Daasu, Chilas, Harban, Dehrail, Tangeer and Dubair are worst affected forest areas in Kohistan where timber loss is reported to be hundred percent. Apart from that, from Diamir to Basham, timber smuggling has exceeded hundreds of thousands of cubic feet. The aforementioned federal minister has reportedly created 'pickets at Durband in Kohistan and Kala Dhaka from where flood-swept piles of timber are grabbed and smuggled. The parliamentarians from ruling coalition in KP have assured to introduce a motion against timber smuggling but only time would tell how far would these assurances work.