15 OFFICIALS REMOVED FROM POSITIONS OVER MURREE TRAGEDY, SAYS BUZDAR

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Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar said on Wednesday that 15 officials had been removed from their positions in line with recommendations of the inquiry committee probing the Murree tragedy, in which 22 people had died after their cars were stranded in a snowstorm in the resort town earlier this month.

Addressing a press conference in Lahore, he said the officials who were removed from their positions included the Rawalpindi commissioner, whose services were kept at the federal government’s disposal and his suspension was recommended.

Similarly, he said the Rawalpindi deputy commissioner, too, was removed from his position. It was recommended that his services should also be kept at the federal government’s disposal and that disciplinary action be taken against him after his suspension.

Moreover, Buzdar said the Murree assistant commissioner had been suspended and disciplinary action was ordered against him.

The Rawalpindi city police officer had also been removed from his position and his services were surrendered to the federal government, the chief minister said, adding that directives had been issued for the official’s suspension and disciplinary action against him.

He said orders were also issued for the removal of Murree assistant superintendent of police from his position, keeping his services at the federal government’s disposal, his suspension and disciplinary action against him.

In addition, Buzdar said, the Rawalpindi chief traffic officer, Rawalpindi traffic DSP, Rawalpindi SE highway circle-II, Rawalpindi highway executive engineer, Murree highway mechanical sub-divisional officer, Murree divisional forest officer, Murree district emergency officers, Murree Rescue 1122 in-charge and the head of Provincial Disaster Management Authority in Punjab had been suspended. Disciplinary action against these officials had also been ordered, the chief minister said.

At the outset of the press conference, Buzdar said a high-level committee, headed by Punjab Home Additional Chief Secretary Zafar Nasarullah, had been constituted to investigate the Murree incident.

The committee’s report, he said, highlighted “negligence” on part of relevant officials.

“The officials concerned failed to fulfil their duties,” he said, citing the report.

The chief minister said he had promised a “transparent inquiry” of the Murree incident and that action would be taken against those responsible for the tragedy.

“I have fulfilled my promised,” he added.