Murree: The sequence of events that took place between Friday and Saturday night and before that turned into a tragedy. for the people who come there to enjoy the snow fall at Murree.
The weather in Murree is clear at the moment, with light sunshine and except for occasional cars on the roads, it is quite deserted, but in a panic-stricken silence, a car stuck in the snow on the side of a road There are indications that a tragedy took place here between Friday and Saturday night.
Tourists are still trying to come here but traffic officials say that the roads that have been opened cannot be completely cleared and no more tourists can turn to Murree to see the snow fall.
Dozens of traffic police officers are on duty at the toll plaza to prevent tourists from dying, but there is still talk on TV and social media of blaming and finding the real culprits behind the tragedy.
Punjab Chief Minister is on a visit to Murree. The sounds of helicopters are being heard from time to time in the air of Islamabad. The bodies of the deceased have reached Khaki in Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad and other areas.
But the question is still the same, what happened to the tourists who came to Murree to see snow fall for entertainment between Friday and Saturday night that it turned into a tragedy.
‘Snow fall did not stop at Murree and vehicles could not move’
On November 8, a meeting was held in the office of the Assistant Commissioner to deal with the possible situation arising out of the snowfall.
The meeting was confirmed by Dr Abdul Salam, head of the government hospital in Murree, in an interview with the well renowned broadcast.
“I was present at the meeting and we set up medical camps at three points after the snowfall,” he told the well renowned news broadcast.
However, residents of Murree say that the foundation of the tragedy in Murree was laid on Friday morning. According to locals, stranded tourists and Murree traders, the worst traffic jams have been witnessed in Murree since Friday morning.
Murree has a total parking space of 3,000 vehicles but according to today’s statistics, 30,000 vehicles had entered Murree. And if you estimate the number of people in these vehicles, it reaches several thousand.
Murree, Rawalpindi and Abbottabad police sources told the well renowned news broadcast that the police had been preparing and sending reports on the situation of traffic block, rush and snowfall in Murree and Galyat since Thursday evening that the situation was not good.
According to sources, the snowfall had been continuing for several days but it started again on Friday morning.
“It started snowing at ten o’clock and people parked their cars on the road and started taking selfies. The machinery got stuck behind them. The snow did not stop and the vehicles could not move.”
The BCC contacted Assistant Commissioner Murree, Deputy Commissioner Rawalpindi and Home Minister Sheikh Rashid but they did not respond.
The government announced a ban on tourists entering Murree at 9pm, but by then it was probably too late. Those who went ahead could not turn back, and the extra vehicles that died could not be stopped.
‘Neither the foresters nor the salt clearance staff helped, the people who came at Murree to see the snowfall.
However, the background of this incident is also very important. A few days ago, on January 5, the Meteorological Department had issued a warning of heavy snowfall in Murree.
On the same day, we see Assistant Commissioner Murree Omar Maqbool and SSP Traffic controlling the traffic on the road and reviewing the situation.
On the evening of January 7, we also saw them standing on the highway, but what happened was that neither those coming from the toll plaza could be stopped nor the people in the long queues on the various highways of Murree were helped in time. ۔
“We started the rescue operation at 3pm on Friday,” Qaiser, a traffic police officer from Murree, told the WELL RENOWNED NEWS BROADCAST.
“There were a lot of difficulties in the rescue,” he said. Four feet of snow had fallen. By the way, when it snows, stops and rains, everything is clear and the machinery arrives, but by the time the machinery reached the Sunny Bank headquarters that day, a lot of vehicles were on the road and There was no room for machinery in the double line.
“No matter how much it snows and no matter how much the traffic increases, we can’t close the toll plaza or stop the tourists because it is not in our jurisdiction. This is the job of the government. The day the toll plaza was ordered to close.
In addition to Caesar, we also talked to another traffic police officer. Both have years of experience in traffic control in Murree and they complain that the highway people do not set up dumping points for the machines as per our request. It was too late for the machine to get there.
“We asked them to set up points at GPO Chowk, Jhika Gali and Barian but they keep them at their headquarters near Sunny Bank. We kept calling the highway people but the forest people,” he says. Nor did the Salt Clearance staff help.
“One to two hundred vehicles are still stuck,” he says. The rest of the lines are clear but the link road is not clear yet. They are clearing the houses where 200 vehicles are stuck but there is no driver in them either.
“Earlier machines were not able to move … If there was heavy snowfall, the personnel would not be able to move.
However, the situation from Bariyan to Nathia Gali and what is happening there is not being confirmed. According to the Rescue 1122 control room in Murree, the first call for help was received at 8 am on Saturday.
The agency says that at present, four teams consisting of 12 personnel are assisting the people. An official on duty told the WELL RENOWNED NEWS BROADCAST: “We did all the rescue work on foot because the vehicles could not move.”
He said that his teams are present from Guldana to Bariyan, from Jhika Gali to Lower Topa, from Jhika Gali to PC Bhurban, Lawrence College Bypass.
The teams are also rescuing tourists from people’s homes, but Qamar, media coordinator of Murree Rescue 1122, said heavy traffic and snowfall had caused the tragedy.
He said that Rescue 1122 personnel were continuing their activities till late Friday night. We evacuated many people to safer places. But due to road block, the machines could not move. After which heavy snow fell at midnight and our personnel were not able to move.
The locals sheltered the people in their homes, to the people who came to Murree to see the snow fall.
Muhammad Sabir lives near Guldana. “First of all, understand that this is not a sudden event,” he says. It all started on Friday morning. The road was blocked. It was snowing. The cars were colliding. She was suffering from slippage.
“Everyone understood that if this situation continued and people were not evacuated during the day, then the situation would get out of control at night,” he said. In broad daylight, there was no attempt to say that anyone was active in helping the people.
“People in our area turn to Abbottabad, Rawalpindi and Islamabad in winter,” says Muhammad Sabir. Due to this, there was not much individual strength available in the local areas. After about eight o’clock at night, the locals began to realize that the lives of the tourists in the long lines of vehicles were in danger.
“After that, the locals came out in the snow,” he said. We know that this snowfall is dangerous and it is very dangerous to go out at night but the locals had started trying to save the tourists.
We started moving people in cars to our homes and mosques. Many people and families were evacuated but there were some who said they were safer and happier in their car and had no problem with food, money and water.
According to Muhammad Sabir, by eleven o’clock the situation was such that three to five feet of snow had fallen on the road. It was impossible to walk in this snow. After which the locals also returned to their homes.
He said that after 12 o’clock in the night there was heavy snowfall and power outage. “It was the kind of snow we’ve rarely seen in our lives,” he said. In this snowfall, many vehicles were seen buried in the snow.
‘Old One Way Was Abolished in Murree during the snow fall.
Locals in Murree point out that one of the reasons for this situation is the demolition of the old one-way street.
According to Majid Abbasi, a social worker engaged in rehabilitation work, the worst affected area was Guldana, a few kilometers away from Murree city on Abbottabad Road. In which there have been more deaths in the place of black soil. Since then, there have been casualties on Jhenga Road.
According to Majid Abbasi and other locals Gul Faraz Abbasi, Mohammad Sabir and others, there is no doubt that torrential snowfall, heavy traffic and worst traffic jams are some of the reasons. However, according to him, another reason is the sudden closure of the one-year-old one-way road in Murree a few weeks ago.
According to Gul Faraz Abbasi, for a long time there was one-way traffic from Guldana to GPO Chowk Murree. Vehicles could only enter from one side. Due to which the traffic in Murree was moving to some extent. But a few weeks ago, this one-way street was abruptly closed.
“Locals have expressed great frustration and demanded that one-way traffic be restored,” he said. If there is no one way traffic then traffic will often be jammed but this demand was not heeded. After which there were frequent traffic problems at this place.
Gul Faraz Abbasi says, “Due to heavy snowfall on Friday morning, this place was the cause of Guldana traffic block.”
Majid Abbasi says that machines have been installed on the roads from time to time since Friday morning. The snow removal of the machines during snowfall may not be very useful but the machines are definitely a support.
He said that on Friday afternoon when a car collided with a car in Murree. When it became difficult for a vehicle to move on foot, these missions also came to a standstill. There was no way for them either. At least we didn’t go down without explaining ourselves first.
When the hoteliers asked for Rs. 50,000 rent to the people who came to Murree during snow fall.
Malik Tauqeer Hussain, a tourist from Sargodha who was stranded in Murree with his family till Sunday morning, said that he had reached Murree on Thursday with his four children and his wife. The kids loved watching the snow. I decided that what I really needed to do was learn how to do it right.
“We spent Thursday in Murree and checked out of the hotel at 12 o’clock on Friday and left for home,” he said. I probably didn’t even travel five minutes in the car when the road was blocked. He sat in the car from twelve o’clock on Friday evening.
Malik Tauqeer Hussain says that he got bored at four o’clock and went to a hotel hall. The hotelier told us that we could sit in the hall for a while but not for long. Due to the heavy snowfall, I realized that the traffic might not be open as I did not see any activity clearing the road.
He said that in this situation I got a room by paying twenty thousand rupees and took up residence in it. When I woke up on Saturday morning, the hotel owners told me to get a room for the next day or leave the hotel. I got back in the car with the children.
The new problem for Tauqeer Hussain was that his car was running out of fuel.
“I took a can and went out for fuel,” he says. It was an evening. It was snowing hard at this point. When he returned, the children were not in the car while a servant was standing by the car. He told me that the situation was getting worse. The children have been taken to a safe place.
‘Wife’s ornaments have to be given to hoteliers to spend the night’
On the other hand, Nigna Khan along with her husband reached Murree from Lahore on Thursday morning. “We thought we would return to Lahore via Abbottabad after spending one night in Murree and one night in Galyat,” she said. But on Friday morning, when we started our journey towards Galyat, the road was completely blocked and it was snowing.
He said that on this occasion we paid Rs. 25,000 per night and spent the night in the hotel. We are now in another hotel. Where we are being provided food and shelter.
These tourists managed to get a roof by paying expensive rent. But there were many tourists on Guldana Road who were asked for a fare of Rs 50,000. Tourists were willing to pay exorbitant prices, but their credit cards were not accepted.
One such tourist was Nusrat Jahan who arrived in Murree from Lahore on Wednesday with her children and husband. “We thought we would stay in Islamabad on Friday after spending two days in Murree,” he said. But we saw the moment in my life in which I lived and died moment by moment.
“I have seen times when I kept praying to God that at least my children and husband would be spared if anything happened to me,” she said.
Nusrat Jahan said that Abbottabad Road was closed to traffic since morning. The road was not clear of snow. Vehicles were parked due to slipperiness. Several vehicles had collided. It was snowing and it was growing.
“On this occasion, my husband Akbar Mustafa got out of the car at about two o’clock and went to the nearby hotels,” she said. The hoteliers said they had a place because those who had booked for the weekend had not arrived.
“But they asked my husband for rent from Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000,” she said. We had about thirty thousand rupees. He told them to keep thirty thousand but they did not agree.
Nusrat Jahan said that Akbar Mustafa did not agree to use the credit card. We said keep the car, ID card, if the situation is fine, we will withdraw the money from the ATM. But they still did not agree.
“We were in a car on Friday night in such a state of despair that at eleven o’clock at night some locals took us to their town where we spent the night in a mosque with several men and women and Now we are staying in a hotel.
Handad Naseer, a tourist, said, “We were asked for fifty thousand rupees. We had a little less than fifty thousand. He had to hand over his wife’s jewelery to the hoteliers to spend the night.
Majid Abbasi says that one of the major reasons for the tragedy was the tendency of hoteliers to make huge profits at a very critical time. Otherwise, there was room in many hotels. People could also be accommodated in hotel halls.
“We broke the locks of the closed houses because there was no other choice.”
Local resident Noman Abbasi says that in two days, we sheltered about 500 tourists in hotels and houses in Darya Gali. “There’s gas in the area, so we put 15 people in one room at night,” he says.
But he complained that the government did not make timely arrangements which caused severe inconvenience to the tourists.
In Murree, people also turn to the plains in winter. Noman says, “We also broke the locks of closed houses because there was no other choice.”
Ashfaq Abbasi, a resident of Murree, owns two hotels and took part in the rescue operation.
He told me that now the information is clear and the guests staying in both my hotels are having breakfast and after some breakfast they are starting their journey back home.
Snowfall will happen every year. This is a system of nature, but people are questioning why the machinery and institutions on the earth take so long to move in time that we always have to write the word “tragedy” in every area. Be it a dense city or a tourist destination.