As many as 8000 vehicles will be able to enter the hill station

MURREE (Dunya News) – The government on Monday lifted a travel ban on entry of tourists in Murree and Galiyat more than one week after the Murree snowfall tragedy that claimed 23 lives.

The Punjab government had barred tourists from entering Murree except for locals by setting up a roadblock after the Murree tragedy. After 8 days, the district administration gave conditional permission to tourists to enter Murree after January 17.

As many as 8000 vehicles will be able to enter the hill station and entry will be banned from 5 pm to 5 am, however, locals and military vehicles including Azad Kashmir will be exempted from this ban.

According to the traffic police, only 900 vehicles entered Murree on the first day. A record of in and out of tourist vehicles is also being compiled from the main entry point of Murree. Hotels have also reduced their rents due to less tourists.

Last week, 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.