The committee has a week to determine responsibility after at least 21 people died in icy temperatures.
Karachi, Pakistan – A committee was set up by the Pakistani government to investigate the decline that led to the deaths of at least 21 tourists in a snow-induced traffic jam in the northern hill station of Murree.
On Sunday, the Punjab provincial government announced the establishment of a five-member committee that “will complete the investigation and determine responsibility. [within] seven days “, said Azhar Mashwani, spokesperson for the provincial government.
Among other things, the committee will investigate whether severe weather warnings have been issued and distributed adequately, whether there were mechanisms in place to regulate the flow of traffic to the popular tourist resort town and why the access of vehicles was not stopped once the number tourists have become “unsustainable”, according to a government document.
According to government figures, more than 157,000 vehicles, mainly belonging to tourists, entered Murree between Friday and Saturday, when the snowfall began.
The hill station is a popular tourist destination, located about 40 km (25 miles) from the Pakistani capital Islamabad and attracts tens of thousands of visitors annually.
On Friday, a number of incoming vehicles were trapped by the heavy snowfall on the town’s overcrowded roads, with rescue officials saying at least 21 people are dead overnight when they could not receive food or medical assistance.
On Saturday, the government deployed military forces to assist the local administration’s road clearance and rescue efforts and closed all entrances and exits to the area until work was completed.
Later Sunday, the military cleared all roads cleared of snow and other debris, according to a statement.
However, roads were closed to traffic on Monday at the behest of the government.
According to government statements, all stranded tourists were rescued from their vehicles, although it is unclear how many were evacuated from emergency relief camps located in the area.
Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government came under fire after the incident, with many criticizing its response and readiness for extreme weather conditions.
Punjab chief minister Usman Buzdar on Sunday announced plans to upgrade Murree’s administrative infrastructure, elevate its status to a full administrative district, establish new police stations and build two new car parks in the town’s busiest areas. .