US, UK express sorrow over tragic deaths in Murree


ISLAMABAD – The US and UK have expressed sorrow over the death of 21 Pakistani citizens after they were trapped in cars during heavy snowfall in Murree.

“We extend our condolences to the friends and family of those who perished in Murree, and we hope the remaining stranded motorists are able to reach safety,” the US Embassy in Pakistan tweeted.

“Tragic scenes unfolding at #Murree. Condolences to those affected & hoping the rescuers get to everyone else quickly who still needs help,” the British High Commission in Pakistan said on Twitter.

Videos circulating on social media show bodies inside the cars of tourists.

Earlier in the day, the Punjab government has declared a 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, the 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.”

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