The preliminary investigations into the Murree snowfall tragedy have revealed the civil administration’s incompetence in dealing with the situation as it unfolded.
According to details, despite knowing that tourists come in droves to Murree during snowfall, the administration has failed to renew the hill station’s roads in the last two years.
Furthermore, the administration did not use heavy machinery to clear the roads during the heavy snowfall, resulting in the closure of Murree’s exit points, stranding tourists in their vehicles.
The administration also failed to keep hotel and guest house prices under control and to ensure an uninterrupted supply of electricity and gas to the hill station, forcing tourists to spend the night in their cars.
The Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Rawalpindi and the City Police Officer (CPO) of Rawalpindi failed to prohibit tourists from entering Murree on time, resulting in a record influx of vehicles in the scenic tourist destination.
On Friday night, Assistant Commissioner (AC) Murree and Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Traffic were in the city during record-breaking snowfall. Despite receiving a heavy snowfall guideline from the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), AC Murree and DIG Traffic did not arrange heavy machinery to clear roads during the snowfall.
Finally, the administration has been unable to construct parking lots in the city to accommodate the thousands of vehicles that visit the hill station during snowfall.
On Friday night, Murree received a record-breaking snowfall, causing traffic jams and road blockages. Carbon monoxide poisoning killed 22 tourists in vehicles.
The Punjab government acted quickly the next day to rescue the tourists who had become stranded in their vehicles. Sardar Usman Buzdar, the Chief Minister of Punjab, formed a four-member committee on Saturday to investigate the snowfall tragedy.
The four-member high-level committee is led by Additional Chief Secretary Punjab, Zafar Nasarullah, and includes Food Secretary Punjab, Ali Sarfraz, Agriculture Secretary Punjab, Asad Rehman Gillani, and Assistant Inspector General (AIG) Welfare Punjab, Farooq Mazhar.
CM Punjab has directed that the investigation into the tragedy be completed as soon as possible and that the detailed findings of the report be submitted within a week, after which he will take strict actions against those responsible for negligence in the incident.