The demise toll resulting from heavy snowfall in Murree Hills has been reported to be as excessive as 25. A minor woman who had caught chilly and in a single day had developed pneumonia has additionally died as she couldn’t be rushed to the hospital in time.
People throughout Pakistan, in addition to India, are nonetheless in shock after watching the photographs of useless people mendacity in their automobiles. Everyone is attempting to determine how come completely happy vacationers became frozen faces of demise.
This is how the occasions unfolded which led to this tragedy.
On January 5, Fawad Chaudhry, the Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting in Pakistan, had tweeted in jubilation that greater than 1,00,000 vacationer autos have entered Murree (in opposition to a capability to maintain slightly below 4,000 autos), which was an indication of prosperity in the nation.
On the identical day, the Met division in Pakistan issued a climate warning in accordance with which Murree, Jhika Gali, Nathiya Gali and Galiyat would obtain heavy snowfall resulting in highway blocks.
On January 6, the Aviation Division of the Cabinet Secretariat in Islamabad additionally issued a climate alert predicting heavy snowfall between January 6 and January 9 in the aforementioned vacationer spots. However, no motion was taken by any authorities division, native or nationwide, to arrange for the approaching extreme climate situation.
On January 7, Murree and suburbs acquired 16.5 inches of snowfall. During which period as many as 1,34,000 autos have been cleared to enter Murree. Vehicles started to get caught in the heavy snow, which became a blizzard inflicting a number of pine bushes to fall on the automobiles.
A horrifying tweet by Sirmed, who was caught in the site visitors jam for twenty-four hours, learn: “We are stuck right in front of the Military Academy and Pakistan Air Force reception in Lower Toppa and no one came to people’s aid for at least 8-10 hours. At 7 AM, three Air Force officials came outside with packets of biscuits and handed them out to three cars just to take pictures and immediately disappeared. A tree from their compound fell outside on the road, crushing three cars beneath it and still no one came to the rescue.”
In Murree, Pakistan Army has three massive navy camps however they’re saved separated from the civilians’ by excessive fences lined in barbed wire that encompass their compound and with indicators on show for the general public that anybody attempting to trespass can be shot.
Once it was realised that 1000’s of vacationers have been stranded in snow lined automobiles, locals responded by opening up their homes for shelter. They even started to push autos that have been caught in deep snow. The locals supplied meals, water and tea to these caught in their autos for greater than 24 hours. However, the totally stocked up Army messes saved their gates shut.
It is a well known indisputable fact that Pakistani navy officers and their households personal a lot of the lodge enterprise in Murree. No shock then that as catastrophe struck, lodge charges all of the sudden soared up by as much as 400 per cent.
A traditional lodge room throughout peak season could possibly be employed for Pakistani rupees 5,000 ($28). Now motels have been making calls for from the disaster-stricken vacationers to pay Rs 20,000 ($104) upwards. The most a vacationer claimed he was requested for a room was Rs 70,000 ($ 397).
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s remarks induced an outrage on social media. He blamed the deaths of vacation makers on the vacationers themselves, saying “rush of people proceeding to (Murree) without checking weather conditions” is the trigger for the debacle.
Blaming the victims themselves for the deaths stinks of presidency’s insensitivity in the direction of frequent people. I vividly keep in mind that this was not Imran Khan’s perspective when his personal sister Aleema Khan was stranded in Pakistan occupied Gilgit-Baltistan after the glacial lake burst in Golen Gol space of Chitral in July 2009.
At that point, all efforts have been put in place by the civil administration and Pakistan Army to rescue Imran Khan’s sister utilizing helicopter.
Hence, the opposition events have rightfully sought judicial probe into Imran Khan authorities and Pakistan navy’s failure to avert the catastrophe.
The Interior Minister of Pakistan, Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, has mentioned that the scenario can solely be described as a pure calamity’ and Allah Kay Kaam’ (Allah’s doings), induced resulting from excessive snowfall’.
This is a shameless try to divert the eye of people from a man-made tragedy.
The reality stays that neither the National Disaster Management Authority nor the close by navy models or the native administration took well timed motion to save lots of harmless lives.
Forty-eight hours after the incident, the correct authorities businesses have been in a position to evacuate people and autos, clear the roads and supply meals and shelter to the needy. Pakistan Army was additionally pressed into motion whereby photo-ops was undertaken to depict them as hero.
However, people who confronted an icy evening with their expensive ones falling in misery now know the way they have been let down by their’ Army which was solely minutes away from them.
The query is why the GoC 12 Division of the Pakistan Army didn’t order his staff into motion and save lives. Well, enterprise for the motels in Murree owned by the Pakistan navy generals was booming. But whereas the Pakistan navy males have been counting notes, people have been respiration their final.
January 6, 2022 can be remembered as one other day when Pakistan Army put profit before people and never for the primary time.
(Dr Amjad Ayub Mirza is an writer and human rights activist from Mirpur in PoJK. He at the moment lives in exile in the UK)