21 people die trapped in vehicles after heavy snowfall in Pakistan

Lahore: Pakistan's popular hill station Murree was declared a calamity-hit area on Saturday after at least

21 people, including nine children, froze to death in their vehicles due to unprecedented snowfall and rush of tourists to the picturesque town in Punjab province.

All the routes in Murree in Rawalpindi district were blocked after thousands of vehicles entered the city, leaving the tourists helpless on the roads.

Around 1,000 cars were stuck on the hill station while the Punjab chief minister issued instructions for expediting rescue work and providing aid to the stranded tourists, the Dawn newspaper reported.

According to a list issued by Rescue 1122, at least 21 people died, including nine children, it said.

Prime Minister Imran Khan

said he was shocked and upset at the tragic deaths of tourists on the road to Murree.

"Unprecedented snowfall & rush of ppl proceeding without checking weather conditions caught district admin unprepared. Have ordered inquiry & putting in place strong regulation to ensure prevention of such tragedies," Khan said in a tweet.

The military has been mobilised to clear roads and rescue people still trapped, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid said in a video message. He said Murree had "seen a huge number of tourists after 15-20 years", and due to that, a crisis took place.

Rashid said the government was forced to close the road from Islamabad to Murree.

The commissioners of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, deputy commissioners, police, are carrying out rescue operations, he said.

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