ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Imran Khan has expressed shock over deaths of tourists on road to Murree, a hill station in the Punjab province.
Rescue officials said that at least 21 people froze to death in cars stranded in snow amid huge influx of tourists in the region.
Taking to Twitter, the premier wrote: “Shocked & upset at tragic deaths of tourists on road to Murree. Unprecedented snowfall & rush of ppl proceeding without checking weather conditions caught district admin unprepared”.
Shocked & upset at tragic deaths of tourists on road to Murree. Unprecedented snowfall & rush of ppl proceeding without checking weather conditions caught district admin unprepared. Have ordered inquiry & putting in place strong regulation to ensure prevention of such tragedies.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) January 8, 2022
PM Imran Khan has also ordered an inquiry into the tragic incident. “Putting in place strong regulation to ensure prevention of such tragedies,” he said.
Earlier in the day, the Punjab government has declared calamity hit after the tourists’ death. Around 1,000 cars were stranded on the hill station while the Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar issued instructions for expediting rescue efforts.
Moreover, entry of cars into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Gailyat has been banned.
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, in a video message, said tourists moved to Murree in such large numbers “for the first time in 15 to 20 years which led to the crisis”.
Pakistan Army troops reached Murree to assist rescue officials. In a statement, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said army engineers also reached the area to help open up the main highways.
The military’s media wing later said that its engineers troops cleared Islamabad-Murree Expressway.
“Heavy machinery from Murree, army engineers Division and FWO are working without any pause to assist people who are struck,” the ISPT said, adding: “Where machinery can’t reach, troops have been moved and they are clearing traffic and opening roads.”