The official investigation into the Murree tragedy wherein over 20 tourists died due to snowfall has found that the calamity was a result of ‘administrative negligence’. The five-member committee departed the hill station on Sunday after speaking with dozens of victims and more than 30 administrative officers from different departments.
A draft of the report will be provided to the Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar in two or three days, according to various sources close to the investigation.
Initial findings revealed that dozens of district snow ploughs remained idle during the incident, leading to snow accumulation and road blocks. Additionally, government administration reportedly ignored warnings from the metrological department about the impending blizzard and many staff members were found not to be at work that weekend.
On January 8th, over four feet of snow blanketed Murree, along with thunderstorms at a speed of 50-90km, trapping many stranded tourists in their cars overnight. At least 22 people died, including several children.
The official report, which will be completed in a few days times, will seek to determine the capacity of the relevant departments to respond to a crisis, according to the committee’s terms-of-reference. The committee will also seek to find out if any travel advisors were issued to warn visitors of the adverse weather conditions, and whether administrators made any attempts to quell the inflow of tourist traffic into Murree. The committee was formed on the exigencies of the Punjab provincial government.