There is a need to learn from the tragedy that occurred in Murree. The death of at least 23 helpless tourists has not only grieved the entire country but has also sent a negative image of the country abroad. It is all the more necessary as PM Imran Khan is keen to promote tourism in the country which according to him is endowed with 12 seasons while he also wants to project his image as a conservationist.
Murree was once known as the Queen of the Kohsar for its scenic beauty. Not long ago, the bulk of the tourists reached the town on buses that were unloaded a few kilometers below the town. There were few cars which were also parked near the bus stand. The tourists walked all the way to the town center. No car or motorbike was allowed on Murree’s Mall Road where people either enjoyed the season in restaurants or walked up and down the street from end to end. While there is a dire need to stop the recurrence of the tragic incident, equally important is to preserve Murree’s scenic beauty.
There is a need to construct car parks at locations much below Murree town and start a shuttle service to take the tourists to a point from where they can walk to the Mall. Car parks should be constructed only where enough space is available without cutting the trees. As the arrangement will take time, there is a need meanwhile for public transport scheduling like banning all motorized traffic during the busiest months of winter and summer, with an efficient and comfortable shuttle service taking tourists from down below to Murree.
The roads need regular improvement on account of the wear and tear. Any measure that leads to the cutting of trees and reducing the scenic beauty has to be avoided. It is unwise to give Murree the status of a district as it would involve constructing scores of offices and residential buildings for a whole lot of new officials in an already overcrowded town. Similarly it is unwise to construct alternate roads as this would require cutting thousands of trees.