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Tourists given conditional permission to enter Murree



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MURREE:– Days after 23 people lost their lives in Murree when their cars became stuck on snow-covered roads, Rawalpindi Commissioner gave conditional permission to tourists to enter Murree after January 17 revoking a weeklong ban.

According to the notification issued by the commissioner Rawalpindi, 8,000 vehicles were allowed to enter Murree daily, while the hill station will remain closed for tourists till January 17.

The ban on entry of vehicles will not be applicable to the residents of Murree and Azad Kashmir, while the Chief Traffic Officer (CTO) will formulate the Murree Traffic Plan, the notification read.

Tourists will not be able to enter Murree between 5 pm and 5 am. The CTO will be in touch with the meteorological department.

On Monday, the government had extended the ban on entry into Murree for six more days until 17 January 2022 .

The announcement was made by the National Highway and Motorway Police (NHMP) on its Twitter handle. “Entry into Murree Banned,” wrote the NHMP on its Twitter handle, adding the ban will remain in place until 17 January 2022 as per directions issued by the District Administration.

On Saturday, at least 23 people died in an enormous traffic jam caused by tens of thousands of visitors thronging the hill town to see unusually heavy snowfall.

The resort town of Murree, around 70 kilometres of Islamabad, was inundated with tourists and daytrippers last week after unusually heavy snow turned it into a winter wonderland.

But a blizzard from Friday onwards felled trees and blocked narrow roads leading in and out of the town, which clings to steep hills and valleys at an altitude of 2,300 metres (7,500 feet).

“It was not snow, and not even heavy snow, it was unprecedented… with four to five feet in few hours,” Tariq Ullah, an administrative official in nearby Nathia Gali, told AFP Sunday.

“(I) never saw such a huge snowstorm in my life. There were strong winds, uprooted trees, avalanches. People around were terrified, each having his or her own account of suffering.”

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar on Monday announced Rs 33.5 million financial assistance for the injured and the families of deceased persons who lost their lives in Murree two days back.

Extending his heartfelt sympathies to the bereaved families, the CM said that financial assistance could not compensate any life. All the sympathies of the Punjab government were with bereaved families; he said and announced that Rs17.6 million aid would be given to heirs of those who lost their lives in Murree.

Meanwhile, a committee led by additional chief secretary (ACS) Home, would submit its report within seven days for taking action against the negligent officers. Instructions have also been issued for short- and long-term planning to avoid such incidents in future, the CM added.

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