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punjab govt seals four hotels in murree amid horrible tales of tourists’ exploitation

MURREE: The Punjab government has sealed four hotels in Murree involved in excessive charging of room rent from tourists which led to casualties during snowstorm.

About 22 tourists have died of cold and asphyxiation in Murree when they got stuck up in their cars during a heavy snowstorm on January 7.

Hotel owners massively increased accommodation charges during snowstorm, leaving people no other choice but to spend freezing night in their cars. Punjab administration had also taken action against three hotels in Murree after social media posts went viral, blaming the owners of over-charging and exploitation of tourists. The government authorities, however, did not share the names of the hotels.

It seems to be unbelievable but it is a fact that some hotel owners/managers charged up to Rs 70,000 from tourists for spending one night in hotel as against their normal rent of Rs 6,000. Tourists also raised the issue of excessive increase in food items and drinking water in Murree and its adjoining areas during the deadly weather. 

Another shocking development was that the shop-keepers sold Rs10 biscuit pack for Rs300. Meanwhile, a half-liter drinking water bottle was sold for Rs300.

Moreover, on the order of the Punjab government and complaints of tourists, an FIR had been registered with the Murree district police station against some identified residents of Murree for deliberately throwing snow on the roads to make money from the tourists.

Another shocking development is that a group of men in a blue jeep, deliberately threw snow outside the Bhurban Hotel and they charged Rs 4,000 to 5,000 from every car owner for towing the vehicle.

A case under sections 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint) and 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees) of the Pakistan Penal Code has been registered.

Meanwhile, the rescue operation in Murree has been accomplished by the Pakistan Army and the NDMA and most of the roads leading into and outside the tourist hub have been cleared for traffic.

To avoid further rush and mishaps in Murree, the federal government has extended ban on entry in the tourist region for the outsiders. Only the local people can go to their hometowns.

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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