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Pope Francis Sends his Prays for the Victims of Murree

By: Kashif Anthony Javeed

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At least 23 tourists died in their cars as they were stuck due to extreme weather during a snowstorm in Murree, a picnic point and a mountain resort town, located in the Galyat region of the Pir Panjal Range, within the Rawalpindi District of Punjab, Pakistan. Temperatures fell to minus 8 degrees Celsius (17.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

Pope Francis, offered his prayers and condolences, over the deaths of tourists during a snowstorm in Murree, Pakistan’s most visited hill station.  

The civil authorities with the help of military recovered the dead bodies of visitors stranded in their vehicles stuck on Friday night. .

ASI M. Naveed Iqbal 49, an officer of the Islamabad police, along with his wife and six kids had frozen to death in their car had pleaded to his colleagues before dying, in his voice message to check on the crane, saying he and his family have been stranded for the last 18 hours.

After few minutes Naveed had sent another message in which he said that they were holding out for cranes to start working and paving the way for stranded cars. “We are worried.”

Civil and military authorities had evacuated all the trapped tourists safely on Saturday night they had also found out alive girl from under snow but unfortunately she dies on way to hospital.

Most of the victims died of hypothermia, and they found more than 4 feet (1 meter) of snow fell in the area of the Murree Hills resort, said Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed. He also said that they had trapped thousands of cars on roadways,

Paramilitary troops and a special military mountain unit were called on emergency to help and thousands of vehicles had been pulled from the snow but more than a thousand were still stuck, by late Saturday, Ahmed said.

While speaking to CityNews Mrs. Mariyam, a human rights and social activist from Karachi, said that she totally condemned the inhuman act from the hotel owners in Murree, for there are many people who visited the place have claimed, that they, instead of helping these innocent people had increased room’s rents and food shops had started demanding extra prices for food, which is an inhuman act. Families along with women and kids trapped in snow.

People had no options left besides staying in their cars and for waiting weather to calm dawn, during which most of them had lost their lives. “The situation worsened because measures were not taken timely,” Mariyam said.

The Punjab government after looking at the situation has declared the hill station as calamity hit and all rescue services have been instructed in order to safe, provide food and emergency services to the visitors.

Punjab Relief Commissioner had declare emergency in Murree.

Some of the people were also seen taking selfies and did not understand the severity of the situation. 

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