Over 20 people, including children, lost their lives in stranded cars in Murree on Friday night, and the locals and hotel owners only acted as opportunists in the aftermath.
A large number of locals in various areas took part in the rescue operation. They also offered food and shelter to the visitors. At the same time, however, some hotel owners exploited the situation by charging unreasonable rent for a room per night.
The locals of Murree also took advantage of the tragedy by evacuating the trapped cars only after getting thousands of rupees from the stranded owners. They were reportedly equipped with chains and other tools to help the trapped people. But the help was only offered after striking a deal with them.
Former singer Rabi Pirzada also disclosed on her social post that the locals of Murree were taking undue advantage of the stranded tourists. She posted a video of a tourist, who can be heard saying that the locals were “opportunists”.
Pirzada revealed that two nights ago, the locals were selling an egg for Rs500 to the families in Murree. The hotel owners were charging between Rs30,000 and Rs50,000 for a room as well as selling a bottle of water for Rs500.
“They [laborers] were charging Rs3,000 for pushing a small car and Rs5,000 for a big car,” she added. “Now they have all become helpers and saints. This is a nation of hypocrites!”
Tourist influx in Murree
In the midst of a tourist influx, more than 20 people died after being stranded in cars in the snow in Murree. Subsequently, the Punjab government declared Murree a calamity-hit region and sought help from the Pakistan Army.
Two days prior to the unforeseen tragedy, the continuous snowfall in Murre led to a hundred of thousands of tourists to head towards the town.
Despite the forecast of heavy snowfall in Murree and Galiyat, the local administration did not take any precautionary measures until Friday. They allowed more than 100,000 vehicles to enter Murree during the four-day spell of snow that resulted in congestion in the area.
On the other hand, the government departments did not act to rescue trapped people on Friday night that resulted in the death of more than 20 visitors in their cars. But on Saturday, the administration acted promptly and started an operation rescue.
Many families who went there with nothing but fun in mind died altogether in their cars. This tragic event is not only heartbreaking but also a stark reminder that if the government can encourage tourism, it should also ensure people’s safety during extreme weather.
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