PESHAWAR: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah said that the entire state was responsible for Murree tourists tragedy.
The chief justice was hearing a petition filed by Hamad Abbasi, a resident of Murree, seeking probe into the Murree tragedy and action against those responsible. Abbasi said that thousands of vehicles were entering Murree but police and district administration were “silent spectators” to the situation.
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) representatives appeared before the court. Chief Justice Athar Minallah remarked that the Parliament has enacted Disaster Management Law that was supposed to be implemented since 2010 but the law is yet to be implemented. Member NDMA replied that one meeting was held on February 21, 2013 and the second on March 28, 2018 after 5 years.
Expressing anger over the NDMA, the Chief Justice said that it was unfortunate that if the meeting had been prepared, precious lives would not have been lost. “If this law had been implemented, not a single citizen would have been killed. In this case, there is no need for probe as the entire state machinery is responsible for their deaths,” the chief justice said in his remarks.
The High Court directed the Prime Minister to convene the meeting of the National Disaster Management Commission, take action against those who are responsible and submit a report to the court. The NDMA member urged that the law clearly states that there is a set of responsibilities at the central, provincial and district levels.
Chief Justice Athar Minallah adjourned further hearing of the case till next Friday.
At least 22 tourists were killed due to suffocation in their cars on 7 January after heavy snowfall in Murree. The Prime Minister Imran Khan has expressed sorrow over the Murree tourists tragedy and ordered inquiry and putting in place effective regulations to ensure prevention of such tragedies. The prime minister had said that the district administration was not ready cope with such the large number of tourists amid heavy snowfall.