Child: I am getting increasingly cold and clearly losing my body heat. I can barely feel anything but seemingly oxygen supply is decreasing. The car heater has stopped working and I am shivering. My hands are totally numb. Suddenly, I am imagining my body placed on a huge state-of-the-art heater in full swing but why is my heartbeat getting slower? I put my right hand on the area where my heart might be but could not feel it beating. With my dilating pupils, all I could see is a swathe of white mass outside the car windows. My eyes are now closing even if I try to keep them open. Mommy, can you take me to the market. You need to get me a lot of woolen, extremely warm blankets. Mommy, don’t go anywhere, please.

Another Child: Switch off the TV Mom. I cannot see it any more. Look at those scenes. I wish you and I had also accompanied Dad. You know, the report says it’s too cold and snowy out there. Switch off the heater, Mom. Our family is freesing to death and we are enjoying food at home. Even the cell phones are not working. You know, I would have asked them to not to sleep in the car with the heater on. If all widows are up and the car is running, the odorless carbon monoxide can fill up the car if the tailpipe is clogged. This gas leaves you disoriented and unable to help even yourself and by the time you are aware something was going wrong, you might already be on your way to unconsciousness and in a minute and few seconds, you could die.

Man: Can you hear me? I know, the connection is not good. Yes, my family and I are stuck on the road somewhere between Nathiagali and Murree. It is snowing heavily and the car doors have refused to open. The entire road is blocked and hundreds of cars are almost buried in snow. I can hear some children crying in the distance and in need of food and water. How long do we wait for the crane? It’s been ten hours and no one has come to remove snow from the road. We are switching on the heater and going to sleep until help arrives. Help us Allah, We are worried.

Another Man: Massive rescue operation? Which operation? I cannot see anyone outside. You are the first one to arrive. Did you say you are a resident of this area? What do you do when all vehicles are trapped in snow? The state of emergency has been imposed? What on earth does it mean? What about us? Where are the helicopters? Where are the rescue teams? Yes, we checked weather conditions and since when has Pakistan’s MET office started providing accurate information? Wait, where are you going? The blizzard? You mean there would be more snow? Come on, take me with you but wait, I don’t have the kind of shoes you are putting on.

Official Radio: The MET office had warned everyone about the worsening weather, a blizzard and at least four feet of snow days before the calamity hit the area. The officials stationed at various picket points tried their best to divert the traffic but no one listened. The hotels in Murree charged exorbitantly but even then they remained overbooked. Many people came out of the hotels and tried to keep warm in vehicles as the electricity went out in hotels. Some froze to death in their cars. Others died from asphyxiation after inhaling exhaust fumes in snow-bound vehicles. Thousands are still stranded on the road. We have not seen such a massive inflow of tourists in the past few decades. Even after hearing the news of twenty two deaths, a number of people would insist to moving ahead, reach Murree and enjoy the snow. Provision of fuel and food to the stranded people has been ensured. All roads leading to Murree are being re-opened, thanks to the local administration, law enforcement agencies and the local residents.

Ex-pat: We are talking about the boom in international tourism. Look at the local tourism. Do you believe the government cannot control the exorbitant prices of hotel accommodation in Murree and the Northern Area or force them to provide adequate facilities corresponding to the rates? Imagine when the Occupied Valley becomes a part of Pakistan and something like this happens!! Would we constitute committees and commissions to probe into what happened? Blame game never helps. Someone needs to be made answerable for such bad management.

Intellectual: Looking at the pattern of events in the past two decades particularly in the socio-political domain, any such faux pas is understandable. Clearly, people have become indifferent to any kind and any number of such crises. What is not understood is the fact that some of them still expect miracles from the management. Conversely, something like this happens and they start talking about a change in the government or fresh contingency plans as if it would make any difference. The real issue is twofold. The government does not have the requisite capacity to either pre-empt such fiascos or take timely decisions to salvage the situation. Secondly, the governance in this country has become a political phoenix. Let us accept that we deserve what we are experiencing.