Nazir Siyal

KARACHI, In view of an emergency situation in Murree and
Galliat areas, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Sunday
announced a free on-net calling facility for all those stranded in
Murree due to heavy snowfall.

“In view of emergency situation, mobile phone users, currently present
in these areas with no balance, have immediately been provided with free
on-net calling facility,” the PTA said in a press release.

On the directions of PTA, cellular mobile operators have extended free
calling facility on their own network to users, with zero balance,
stranded in Galliat areas. Users may contact their concerned operators
for more info,” the statement added.

Moreover, PTA has also directed all telecom operators to ensure
uninterrupted services to users and keep enough back up arrangements in
case of power outages.

All main roads of calamity-hit Murree hill station have been cleared for
all types of traffic including Kuldana-Barian Road, whereas, efforts for
evacuating stranded tourists are also underway, the military’s media
wing said Sunday.

The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement that all
main communication arteries of Murree have been cleared for all types of
the move including Kuldana-Barian Road.

“After clearance of main roads, army engineers are now focusing road
links.” Relief camps and medical facilitates are fully operating and
army transport is plying for moving of stranded tourists to Rawalpindi
and Islamabad, ISPR added.

Moreover, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) personnel are actively taking part in
ongoing rescue and relief operations in Murree.

The air force officials have shifted more than 100 stranded tourists
including women and children at the PAF Base Kalabagh and Lower Topa

At least 22 tourists who were stranded in their vehicles due to heavy
snowfall died of the extreme weather in Murree on Friday night.

According to a report on the Murree tragedy presented to Punjab Chief
Minister Usman Buzdar by the Rawalpindi administration, more than
100,000 vehicles entered Murree over the past three days. 12,000 of them
exited the hill station while the rest got stuck.