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murree tragedy: ASI of islamabad police also died with six family members after waiting for help for over 20 hours in car

Rescue officials fear more casualties in Murree as 1,000 cars were still stranded in traffic jam since Friday night

ISLAMABAD: Naveed Iqbal, assistant sub-inspector of Islamabad also died in Murree along with his six family members in car as they kept on waiting for rescue work for more than 20 hours.

ASI Naveed Iqbal went to Murree along with his, three daughters, son and two nephews and his car got stuck up in traffic jam caused by snowstorm on Friday.

According to police, Naveed Iqbal made phone-calls to his colleagues and requested them to make efforts to rescue him and family members. He kept on waiting for help for more than 20 hours, but he died with family members in freezing temperature.

Meanwhile, some mothers and their young children also perished in stranded cars in the tourists hub amid chilling weather and snowstorm on Friday night.

On Saturday, afternoon the rescue officials have released a list of the dead who were buried under three feet of snow.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has ordered an inquiry and said that the administration was unprepared amid arrival of a large number of tourists in Murree and other tourist places in the area. It was learnt that on Jan 5, 2022, the Met Department had issued an alert of heavy snowfall in Murree and its adjoining areas, urging the concerned officials to stay alert to cope with the situation. However, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the Punjab and Pindi administration did not take this alert seriously which led to this national tragedy in the shape of more than 20 casualties in cars stranded on roads in traffic jam amid freezing temperature.

Meanwhile, officials said the bodies of four men were recovered from a car, a compact Alto VXR. Their ages were between 21 and 27 years and they came from Mardan. One of them belonged to Karachi.

The bodies of three other men, two aged 31 and the third aged 30, were also recovered from another car. Their ID documents revealed that they belonged to Lahore and Gujranwala.

So far, 21 casualties have been reported in Murree, but the rescue officials fear more casualties as one thousand cars were still stranded under snow.

Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan has ordered an inquiry and he said that an unexpected rush of tourists and unprepared administration led to this tragedy.

Meanwhile, federal ministers Sheikh Rashid, Fawad Chaudhry and others have claimed that the administration of Murree and Islamabad had forewarned the people of critical weather in Murree, but tourists ignored that and rushed to the tourist hub to see snowfall.

Opposition leader Mian Shehbaz Sharif blamed the government for Murree tragedy and said that the PM(N) government used to monitor the situation in this region to protect people from any tragedy. He said that the negligence of the PTI government caused casualties in Murree and adjoining areas.

On Saturday afternoon, the administration has cleared Murree to Islamabad one-way road to facilitate tourists to move out from the area.

Meanwhile, civil and military personnel have expedited rescue operation in the Murree region to rescue one thousand cars which were still stranded in traffic jam. So far, more than 23,000 stranded cars have been moved away from snowfall and tourists have been shifted to safe places. Till the filing of this report on Saturday evening, rescue operation was underway in Murree and other areas to reach the stranded people.

Javed Mahmood
Written By

I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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