The federal government has deployed the Pakistan Army and other forces after at least 16 people died in their vehicles in Murree due to heavy snowfall.
All the roads in the hilly town were blocked after thousands of vehicles jammed the roads leaving the tourists helpless on the roads.
In a video message, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Saturday said Murree had “seen a huge number of tourists after 15-20 years”, and due to that, a crisis situation happened.
Rashid said the government was forced to close the road from Islamabad to Murree. “Islamabad and Rawalpindi’s commissioners, deputy commissioners, police, are carrying out rescue works.”
The interior minister said five platoons of the Pakistan Army have been called in for rescue efforts, while Rangers and Frontier Corps will be deployed on an emergency basis.
“As many as 1,000 vehicles have been stuck since night […] some have been evacuated; 16-19 deaths took place in cars. The locals provided food and blankets to the stranded people.”
The interior minister said the authorities would evacuate 1,000 vehicles by today evening, while the roads would remain closed to Murree till tomorrow 9pm.
“We have also decided to ban tourists who are planning on coming to Murree by walk; this is not the time to come to Murree,” Rashid said.
SNOWSTORM: According to the local administration, rain and blizzards are forecast tonight in and around Murree, with thunderstorms at a speed of 50-90 kmph and heavy snowfall.
The administration has warned the citizens not to leave their homes or turn to Murree as severe weather conditions are likely to continue till late at night.
Hundreds of thousands of tourists poured in to Murree during the last wo days as snowfall started.
According to district administration officials, an estimated 125,000 vehicles entered the city due to which traffic jam was witnessed on the roads and it was decided to close all the roads leading to Murree.
Rawalpindi deputy commissioner has confirmed that that the road leading to the tourist site has been closed at Bhara Kahu tool plaza to deal with the situation.
The deputy commissioner tweeted that “around 23,000 vehicles have been evacuated safely from Murree. Around 1,000 are still stranded.”
He said that the district administration is working round the clock to evacuate the remaining vehicles safely.