LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar announced on Wednesday the removal of Rawalpindi commissioner, deputy commissioner, along with 13 other officers from their posts in connection with the Murree tragedy that resulted in the death of at least 23 tourists, Aaj News reported on Wednesday.
Buzdar said that the 15 officers, under investigation for the Murree tragedy, will be removed.
The Rawalpindi commissioner and deputy will be removed, and surrendered to the federal government, and Punjab will recommend their suspension, added Buzdar.
The decision was made after a five-member inquiry committee into the Murree incident presented its investigation report to the chief minister.
Addressing media in Lahore, CM Buzdar said: “I promised the nation action against those responsible for Murree tragedy and I fulfilled my promise.”
According to the inquiry committee report, relevant officials failed to fulfill their duties.
Rawalpindi commissioner, deputy commissioner, Murree assistant commissioner, Rawalpindi city police officer (CPO), Murree assistant superintendent of police (ASP), Rawalpindi chief traffic officer (CTO), Rawalpindi traffic DSP, Rawalpindi SE highway circle II, Rawalpindi XCN highway, Murree SDO highway mechanical, Murree Divisional forest officer, Murree Rescue 1122 incharge, Murree district emergency officer and Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) Punjab director have been suspended immediately, and disciplinary action has been recommended against them.
An initial report by the inquiry committee into the Murree debacle had declared carbon monoxide (CO) as a major cause of the deaths.
More than 162,000 vehicles entered Murree from January 3 to January 7, according to the initial investigation document.
The roads leading to and from Murree were not repaired for two years, the report revealed.
These roads had unpaved patches that accumulated heavy snow causing traffic blockade. The road from Rawalpindi to Murree was blocked at 16 points due to fallen trees caused by heavy snowfall, sources quoted some major highlights of the report.
Meanwhile, the government has given conditional permission to tourists to enter Murree from January 18. According to a notification issued earlier this month, only 8,000 vehicles will be able to enter Murree from all entry points "in normal weather conditions".
However, this limit will "not be applicable to the residents of Murree and Azad Kashmir, official vehicles and Pak Army vehicles," reads the notification.
"No entry shall be allowed between 5 pm and 5 am except for emergency services, vehicles carrying POL/LPG, and food items," it added.
The Chief Traffic Officer will be responsible for stopping excessive vehicles, the notification said.