Emergency declared in Pakistan’s Murree as stranded tourists die after overnight snowfall

Murree in Pakistan was declared calamity hit on Saturday after at least 21 people repeatedly froze to death in cars stranded in snow amid a glut of tourist influx, Foreign Media reported.

Around 1,000 cars were stuck on the hill station while the Punjab chief minister issued instructions for expediting rescue work and providing aid to the stranded tourists.

Moreover, entry of cars into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Galiyat was banned, according to the province’s chief minister.

According to a list issued by Rescue 1122, 21 people died, including nine children. Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, in a video message, said tourists had flocked to the hill station in such large numbers “for the first time in 15 to 20 years which created a big crisis”.

He said Rawalpindi and Islamabad administrations, along with police, had been working to rescue those stranded, while five platoons of the Pakistan Army, as well as Rangers and Frontier Corps, were called on an emergency basis.

The minister said that around 1,000 cars were stuck on the hill station.

Ahmed said that residents of Murree provided food and blankets to stranded tourists, adding that the administration had closed all routes to the hill station and was now allowing only vehicles planning to take food and blankets.

“God willing, we will rescue 1,000 cars by evening today. We have decided to stop people [travelling] on foot as well. It is no time for [pedestrian] tourists to visit.”

The Pakistan Meteorological Department had predicted heavy snowfall in Murree and Galiyat from January 6 to 9.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday ordered inquiry and putting in place strong regulation to ensure prevention of such tragedies.

PM Imran Khan, in a tweet, said that he was shocked and upset at tragic deaths of tourists on road to Murree.