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Tourists walk along a snow-covered road following a blizzard that started on January 7 which led to visitors being trapped in vehicles along the roads to the resort hill town of Murree, some 70km northeast of Islamabad on January 9, 2022. — AFP

RAWALPINDI: Tourists headed to Murree and adjoining areas have been advised to take precautionary measures to avoid inconvenience and untoward incidents during their journey.

According to the advisory, tourists have been requested to use petrol-based vehicles and are strictly prohibited to use CNG-based vehicles which may cause problems in cars due to extreme cold in the snow. Families with infants and asthma patients are also advised to avoid travelling to the hill station.

The visitors have been advised to wear warm clothes and avoid unnecessary travel after 8pm, as well as keep the fuel tanks of their vehicles full. The advisory further asked visitors to turn on the emergency lights and other lights of their cars. It also advised them to put a metal chain on one tyre.

The City Traffic Police (CTP) spokesperson said that special traffic wardens had also been deployed at Murree’s main sites to ensure smooth traffic flow.

To avoid any kind of inconvenience, he requested tourists to follow the advisory. The Tourism Police and special squads have also been directed to make coordinated efforts to provide the best facilities to tourists, the spokesperson added.

Tourists can reach the control room via the following numbers:

  • 051-9269015
  • 051-9269016
  • 051-9269018

Meanwhile, Rawalpindi Commissioner Saqib Manan Friday directed relevant authorities to employ all available resources in facilitating visitors to the hill station and its adjoining areas.

He asked authorities to keep all snow removal equipment operational, in addition to arranging salt sprinkler machines and ensuring the presence of the required staff.

The spokesperson of the local administration said that a control room had also been established at the Jinnah Hall Murree on the commissioner’s special directives.

The Rawalpindi division’s administration also said that in case of any emergency, the tourists can contact the control room where representatives of all the departments concerned would remain present and work round the clock under Murree Assistant Commissioner’s supervision.

The district administration has set up special facilitation centres at 13 sensitive points to assist tourists and respond to any emergency, according to Murree Additional Deputy Commissioner Ahmed Hassan Ranjha.

For the convenience of tourists, Tehsil Headquarters Hospital, CMH Murree and basic health centres have also finalised arrangements for the snowfall season besides setting up two health camps at Lower Toppa and Bansra Gali, the ADC added.

“Strict action would be taken against the violators,” he warned.

Given the huge influx of tourists towards Murree, the district administration and Rawalpindi’s CTP issued an advisory appealing to citizens to observe lane discipline.

In January last year, at least 23 people died after thousands of tourist vehicles were stranded in Murree following heavy snowfall and ensuing road blockage.

The federal government deployed personnel of the Pakistan Army and other civil-armed forces for rescue operations in the hill station.

According to local administration, rain and blizzards were forecast around Murree, with thunderstorms at a speed of 50-90kmph and heavy snowfall, according to reports.

The administration had warned citizens not to leave their homes in severe weather or drive towards the hill station as severe weather conditions were forecast. 

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