No need of inquiry, NDMA responsible for Murree tragedy: IHC CJ

By: News Desk
Published: 01:58 PM, 13 Jan, 2022
No need of inquiry, NDMA responsible for Murree tragedy: IHC CJ
Caption: A man stands next to snow-covered car stuck on a road after a blizzard that started on January 7 and led to visitors being trapped in vehicles along the roads to the resort hill town of Murree, resulting in 22 deaths.–AFP (File photo)
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Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah has held National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) responsible for Murree tragedy in which over 20 people were killed after a blizzard that started on January 7 and led to visitors being trapped in vehicles along the roads, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

During the hearing of a petition seeking probe into the incident as well as action against those whose ‘negligence’ resulted in so many deaths, the IHC CJ on Thursday said “Heads of the NDMA chairman and others should be bowed in shame over this catastrophe.”

“There is no need to hold an inquiry as NDMA is responsible for this tragedy,” Justice Minallah declared.

Declaring that not only the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) but the ‘entire State’ was responsible for the Murree tragedy, the IHC CJ ordered the NDMA to ask Prime Minister Imran Khan to convene Authority’s meeting to fix responsibility.

During the hearing of the petition, Justice Athar Minallah remarked there was no need for an inquiry into the tragedy. “Everybody is busy maligning the people of Murree these days. What is their fault that they are being vilified?” he questioned. 

The CJ, on the occasion, asked the Member NDMA about the number of meetings of the Authority’s commission held recently. 

The Member replied that so far five meetings had been held. “If no commission’s meeting has been held after 2018, then it is NDMA’s fault,” Justice Minallah said. 

Addressing the Member, the judge remarked, “You are to blame for the tragedy; do you want us to give decision right now?” he asked. 

The CJ admonished the NDMA’s representative in the case, and wondered that as to why he had shifted the blame on the Punjab government’s shoulder. “Admitted that the provincial government was also bound to hold concerned bodies’ meetings, but according to the NDMA’s laws, it was primarily Authority’s job to avert that tragedy,” he remarked. 

“It has become a practice to make speeches before the media outside courtrooms,” Justice Minallah said, and regretted that when it came to the implementation of laws, the performance was nil. 

He went on to add that if proper arrangements had been made, so many lives could have been saved.

Petition in SC

Another petition landed in the Supreme Court on Thursday urging Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed to take suo motu notice of the Murree tragedy.

Reporter Ihtesham Kiani