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LHC orders actions against Rescue 1122, Highway Department and PDMA in Murree tragedy

RAWALPIndI -     Lahore High Court (LHC) Rawalpindi Bench
Justice Chaudhry Abdul Aziz on Wednesday
has imposed a ban on constructions in Murree and directed the government to increase
the compensation amount of the victims of
Murree tragedy. The judge of the apex court
also held Rescue 1122, Punjab Highway department and Punjab disaster Management
Authority responsible for the Murree tragedy that claimed the lives of at least 22 tourists and asked the government to initiate action against the responsible. Also, the court
directed to hear those officers of government again who were suspended without
any guilt during inquiry of the tragic incident that took place last winter.
LHC Rawalpindi Bench Justice Chaudhry
Abdul Aziz issued these directions while
laying down the verdict in the Murree tragedy reserved four months ago. The 80-page
detailed decision will be released on november 7, 2022, according to the judge.
He said that all illegal buildings/ constructions in Murree should be demolished immediately besides banning commercial constructions in the hill station.
“There should be a mechanism for hotels,
and rents should be fixed by creating categories to distinguish between hotels and
guest houses in Murree,” the judge of LHC
said in his decision.
In his order, he stated that Rs 800,000
compensation given to the families who
lost their loved ones was less and the
amount should be increased by the government. The court further said that a separate
department responsible for the cleaning of
sewage and drains in Murree during winter
season be set up to provide facilities to the
tourists and other residents.
LHC Rawalpindi Bench Justice Chaudhry
Abdul Aziz also said that strict legal action should be taken against officers who
were aware of the meteorological department’s report about the unprecedented
snowfall.
In the judgement, the court said that no
action will be taken against those who were
suspended despite they were not guilty after the tragedy, whereas, a strict action
will be taken against the officers of Rescue 1122, Punjab Highway department and
PdMA. The court also asked the authorities to build parking lots away from hill resort to avoid rush. It may be noted that as
many as 23 tourists including men, women
and children died in a snowstorm that hit
the hill resort on January 9, 2022.
The initial investigation report that was
made public pointed to the failure of relevant government departments in taking
pre-emptive measures in light of the warnings issued by the Met Office. The probe
also uncovered that measures were not taken to regulate the influx of tourists.
The LHC Rawalpindi Bench had reserved
its verdict in the Murree tragedy case on
May 7. A total of 24 hearings were held in
the case by the apex court.
A joint investigation committee was also
constituted by the former Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Khan Buzdar which had
suspended a total of 15 officers including
former commissioner Rawalpindi division
and deputy commissioner. 

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