LHC reserves verdict in Murree tragedy case

The Lahore High Court (LHC) reserved its verdict in the Murree tragedy case on Saturday as Justice Abdul Aziz heard the case in the high court’s Rawalpindi bench.

The high court reportedly lashed out at the Murree Development Authority (MDA) for negligence, questioning the role of agencies when the roads of the hill station were blocked and thousands of people were stranded.

During the hearing, the lawyer said that according to the National Engineering Services Pakistan (NESPAK), Rs1.5 billion was acquired for the construction of a parking plaza in Murree.

In response, Justice Aziz criticised concerned authorities, questioning where the allocated funds went. “When the contract for the parking plaza was confirmed and the funds allocated, it was all over. This money does not belong to the rich it belongs to the worker [labourer].”

The high court accused the authorities of neglect adding that they have “eaten this country” and are still not satisfied.

Justice Aziz also lambasted the department of forestation for the ongoing deforestation within the region, “we steal wood and set it on fire.”

Read Murree tragedy: The heart-rending tales of victims

“A firm from the United Kingdom was allocated Rs 2.4 million. Where is the logic?” the LHC judge probed, asking why the country was damaged for Rs30 million.

The court had earlier directed the chief officer Murree municipal corporation and the chief officer district council to submit an affidavit, stating that no construction was taking place in Murree after they filed a report in the court.

The court had directed the divisional forest officer to submit an affidavit stating that there was no deforestation in Murree forests while the wildlife department was ordered to file a similar affidavit. The LHC had inquired into detailed records of all government lands of the forest department, buildings constructed in forests and a complete record of Jhega Gali parking plaza.

Murree tragedy

At least 23 people lost their lives due to a strong blizzard that swept through the hill resort on January 09, 2022.

The initial investigation report was made public which had 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 had also uncovered that the measures were not taken to regulate the influx of tourists.

The initial findings of the five-member committee to investigate the causes and lapses that led to the tragedy in Murree had pointed to the failure of relevant government departments to take pre-emptive measures in light of the warnings issued by the Met Office.

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