Tourists banned from entering Murree after 23 freeze to death


LAHORE – The Punjab government has imposed a ban on entry of tourists in Murree, a popular tourist place, for next 24 hours after 23 people died after being trapped in their cars on roads leading to the hill station due to snowstorms.

The government has asked people to avoid visiting Murree and nearby areas. It also asked tourists to coordinate with the district administration.

Earlier in the day, a preliminary investigation report of the Murree tragedy revealed on Sunday that poor conditions of the roads in the hill station and its outskirts was one of the factors that caused the enormous traffic jam, ultimately leaving at least 23 tourists freezing to death in vehicles trapped by the blizzard.

The report submitted to the Punjab government stated that the roads had not been repaired for the past two years and freezing temperatures led to more potholes on the roads, hampering the flow of traffic.

The report also blamed the authorities concerned for not removing the snow from the main exit point of the tourist resort town which contributed to the massive traffic jam.

The probe revealed that the tourists were forced to stay in their vehicles due to prolonged power outages in different parts of Murree.

The ban on entry of vehicles was imposed only after the intervention of deputy commissioner and CPO Rawalpindi district, read the report, adding that drivers of the machinery to remove snow from the roads also did not arrive on time.

The report also highlighted that there was no parking plaza in Murree where tourists could park their vehicles.

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has constituted a committee headed by the additional chief secretary for further investigation.

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