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PM Imran expresses grief over death toll in Murree, orders inquiry

Over 20 people have been killed as heavy snowfall hits Murree.

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday expressed over the death of 22 tourists in ‘calamity-hit’ Murree and ordered an inquiry and regulations to avert such tragedies in the future.

“Shocked and upset at tragic deaths of tourists on road to Murree,” PM Imran Khan said, as he mentioned that “unprecedented snowfall and rush of people proceeding without checking weather conditions caught district administration unprepared”.

The prime minister said he has ordered an inquiry into the matter and was putting in place a “strong regulation” to ensure the prevention of such tragedies in the future.

 

Murree was declared calamity hit on Saturday after at least 22 people froze to death in cars stranded in snow amid a glut of tourist influx.

Television footage showed that thousands of cars loaded with tourists were still stuck on the routes leading to the hill station on Saturday evening, hours after Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar issued instructions to expedite rescue work and provide aid to the stranded tourists.

The federal government has deployed the personnel of the Pakistan Army, and other civil-armed forces for rescue operations following the catastrophic situation. The military’s media wing later said that its engineers had cleared Murree Expressway.

“Heavy machinery from Murree, army engineers division and FWO are working without any pause to assist people who are struck,” the ISPR said, adding: “Where machinery can’t reach, troops have been moved and they are clearing traffic and opening roads.”

As the situation got out of hand, the administration blocked all the routes in Murree — leaving the tourists helpless on the roads. In a video message, Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Saturday said Murree had “seen a huge number of tourists after 15-20 years”, and due to that, a crisis took place.

A list issued by Rescue 1122 said 22 people died, including 10 children. The deceased include an assistant sub-inspector of Islamabad police and seven members of his family.

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