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Murree Snow fall disaster: Mothers, young children, groups of friends among dead


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MURREE:-Mothers with young children are among 22 tourists who perished in the Murree snowstorm on Friday night. Rescuers found bodies in cars trapped in piles of snow as the horrors of the disaster unfolded Saturday afternoon.

The dead include two families who perished with young children, two groups of friends, and others. They had come from Lahore, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, and Gujranwala.

On Saturday, afternoon rescue officials issued a list of the dead which revealed that young children with parents had perished in the snowstorm that left the region buried under three feet of snow.

A 46-year-old Shahzad and his 35-year-old wife died with their four children, including an 8-year-old boy and an 11-year-old girl. They had travelled to Murree from Rawalpindi. The family lived on the Kurri Road in Rawalpindi.

Shehzad made several phone calls to his family and a friend as he waited for rescue workers. His friend Asif Mahmood told that at about 230am Shehzad called and asked him to pray for them as no help was in sight.

Islamabad police Assistant Sub-Inspector Naveed Iqbal, aged 49, perished with seven other family members including a 43-year-old woman and four girls and two boys. All the children were under 15 years of age. Their bodies were found in a car.

The police officer made several appeals for help. His last audio message that he sent to his cousin reveals that they were waiting to be rescued for over 20 hours.

The message was sent at 4am on Saturday and Iqbal seems optimistic.

His son Hasssan told that they had last spoken with Iqbal last night but on Saturday night no one received the call and when finally it was received the person on the other end told them that all the people in the car had died.

According to Hassan, the dead included Naveed Iqbal, three daughters, a son and a nephew (his brother’s son), his sister (Hassaan’s aunt) and her daughter.

Naveed Iqbal hailed from Dodial village in Talangang tehsil of Chakwal. Punjab Minister Hafiz Ammar Yasir, who is also from Talagang, visited Iqbal’s home Saturday evening to condole with the family.

The bodies of the two families were moved to Rawalpindi Saturday night and handed over to the families. Naveed Iqbal and his family members would be laid to rest in Dodial on Sunday.

In two other cars, rescuers found the bodies of seven men.

The bodies of four men were recovered from one car, a compact Alto VXR. Their ages were between 21 and 27 years. They had travelled from Mardan.

They have been identified as Sohail Khan s/o Fazal Rehman, Asad s/o Zaman Shah, Mohammad Bilal s/o Ghaffar, and Bilal Hussain s/o Ghouse Khan. Bilal Hussain was from Karachi.

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

The family members have identified them as Zafar, Maroof, and Ishfaq. Zafar’s brother told that Maroof and Zafar were brothers in law and they along with their three friend Ishfaq had left for Murree on Friday.

A mini-van driver from Rawalpindi’ Kamalabad was also found dead in his van.

Most of the bodies were found from cars stranded on on Kuldana Road.

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