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ISLAMABAD: Initial report by the inquiry committee into Murree debacle has declared carbon monoxide (CO) as major cause of the deaths. The report has been submitted to Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar, it was learnt. According to sources, the report revealed that some 22 deaths occurred in four to five vehicles. Deaths were caused mainly due to accumulation of carbon monoxide due to heating in vehicles which resulted in suffocation.

More than 162,000 vehicles entered Murree from January 3 to January 7, according to the initial investigation document. The roads leading to and from Murree were not repaired for two years, the report revealed. These roads had unpaved patches that accumulated heavy snow causing traffic blockade. The road from Rawalpindi to Murree was blocked at 16 points due to fallen trees caused by heavy snowfall, sources quoted some major highlights of the report. The report also stated that some 21,000 vehicles were stopped from entering Murree and they were returned.

The report said that heavy snowfall continued for 16 hours on January 7 which resulted in four-foot snow.

Cold kills 21 stuck in cars in heavy snow at Murree

The report pointed out the absence of the administrative machinery to facilitate the tourists. In one instance, the report indicated, there was a slippery road patch outside a cafe in Murree but the administration did nothing to fix it. This patch was the exit route from Murree to Rawalpindi, the report revealed.

It merits mentioning here that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led governments in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are under massive criticism from public and political circles for their failure in managing the influx of tourists to small towns of Murree and Galiyat that led to casualties due to freezing weather. By Sunday evening, the death toll had reached 23. The CM Punjab has formed another high-level committee to investigate Murree debacle and submit report within seven days.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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