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Murree hotel owners respond to allegations of jacking up prices

'People died enjoying heaters in their cars'

SAMAA | - Posted: Jan 10, 2022 | Last Updated: 2 weeks ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Jan 10, 2022 | Last Updated: 2 weeks ago

Murree Hotel Association Chairman Raja Irfan has rejected the allegation that tourists died in Murree because hotel owners were charging exorbitant rent for rooms. He has also claimed that people turned on their cars’ heaters and were enjoying with windows closed which resulted in their deaths. 

"People were not ready to abandon their cars that’s why fewer people died due to cold and more due to suffocation," he said speaking on SAMAA TV’s show Naya Din.

At least 22 people died of cold and asphyxiation in Murree after they were stranded in their cars during a snowstorm Friday night. Many tourists who returned from the hill station said hotel owners jacked up accommodation charges, forcing people to spend the night in their cars. 

However, Irfan said that and all such claims were baseless. 

“Owners who had high-end suites charged from Rs25,000 to Rs30,000, although these charges are still high,” he accepted.

“We had asked all registered hotels to provide free food and accommodation and we tried to facilitate as many people as possible.” 

He rebuffed the claims that locals were demanding money from people, adding that locals came to help even before the army was called in. 

According to Irfan, 35% to 40% hotel owners are from other cities like Lahore, Faisalabad and Karachi.

When asked that people were charged Rs200 for a single egg, he said it is possible that some dhabas over charged people. 

“There are pathan kids who sell eggs in buckets. We can't check what they are doing.” 

He rejected the claims that people died near hotels and owners didn’t come to their help. 

“All the deaths happened in deserted areas. These areas are cold even during summers. There are no hotels around.”

Tourists hold hotel owners responsible 

Talking to SAMAA TV Sunday, tourists said that accommodation charges were raised to Rs70,000 ($398) per room from Rs6,000 ($34). 

Some tourists said that food prices also sky-rocketed in the area, specifically amid the severe weather conditions. 

One pack of biscuits worth Rs10 was sold at Rs300, while a small water bottle was sold at as high as Rs300, they said. 

Major roads cleared 

Almost all tourists have left the hill station by Sunday evening after major roads reopened.  

According to the NDMA Chairperson Lt-General Akhtar Nawaz, 600 to 700 vehicles were evacuated. Over 5,000 cars on Sunday left Murree by noon, he said speaking to SAMAA TV.

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20 Comments

  1. Faiq Ali Shaikh  January 10, 2022 7:21 pm/ Reply

    Everyone knows this is not the first time happened with tourists in regard to high prices charged in murree. Previously, same incident was happened and owners of hotels made apologise of the same.
    Now, this is my request to you all to please take necessary action against the owners and try to break Mafia who misuse the facility provide to tourists in accordance to provisional govt. directives.

    This is enough now this time we need to take step and media is the one who can play effective role in this situation. Still I have a picture of that girl, 12 years of age, died in a car with her parents and siblings, Could you feel that pain ???? Her mouth and eyes were opened?? , still tears are coming in my eyes.

    Moreover, We are so called Muslims we cannot feel.pain of anyone. Please this my request and advised to you please take up the matter with the respective Provision govt. In order to take string action against them.

    In last , I want to request to all tourist please please please do not visit murree next time just bcoz of this incident otherwise those persons who died will ask query on the day of judgement.

    Please note one thing why tourist do not complaint against the Gilgit, Swat and Hunza? This is my query to all media and social social media. Please think about it.

  2. Khalld Khan  January 10, 2022 8:08 pm/ Reply

    Murre hotel owners are beasts and dacoits, how tell lies.

    It is true that they are inhuman Robbers who always looted people in murree.

  3. M.Khalid  January 10, 2022 11:36 pm/ Reply

    Pathan kids? Shame on you for blaming kids for bad attitude. Your attitude is condemnable and irresponsible. Admit your greediness and do toba astaghfar for killing innocent tourists.

  4. Atiq Khattak  January 11, 2022 7:05 am/ Reply

    We are so called Muslims. Shame on us.

  5. Syed Atif Hussain  January 11, 2022 9:13 am/ Reply

    They all are buddy murderers, charging a hand and a foot for a measly room from families who were literally begging to let them in. Rs. 1,900/- for breakfast of paratha and tea??! Raja Irfan you must have got lots of nerves to justify the looters and plunders out there, how can you justify Rs. 80,000/- to 70,000/- per night for a stinking room where in normal conditions no one would like to spend an hour even!! in short we are in fact not a nation at all that is way we start to act like a band of thugs at the first opportunity we come across and that what happened in Murree that night. This is not a one off incident we heard similar stories last year as well when a campaign to boycott traders in Murree was started on social media. All the hotel, dhaba owners and traders who were involved in this are directly responsible of what happened that night and they all should be ashamed of themselves!! just remember one thing you can get away even with murder in this world and specially in this country but rest ashore Allah is keeping a good track of every single one of you and HE won’t let anyone get away with any injustice, they will eventually pay if not in this world then hereafter and that is for sure…

  6. Ajlal  January 11, 2022 10:09 am/ Reply

    Murree is already famous for extreme overcharging and also for bad behaviours to families. Hotels do charge exorbitant rates and since the people did not have that much money so it forced them to stay in vehicle. No body would like to sleep uncomfortable if the charges would have been reasonable. In such a disaster every non muslim nation would have come forward to help people carrying them to stay at their homes for free. We the so called muslims have lost our core value of humanity and brother hood. It is painful which will bring the whole nation to shame.

  7. AAM  January 11, 2022 10:18 am/ Reply

    Most of the people in Murree … these people do not carry hearts in their chests, they only know money no matter where they are. It is highly obvious that Murree Hotel Association chairman is lying and trying to sway the public and government to look the other way. I cannot expect anything to be done from the government, as it is clear now that government is at complete fault too. I read a news where a journalist texted to PM and IM while in the midst of the blizzard but no response. Anyways, we should all boycott Murree, go to Swat, Hunza, Chitral, Skardu, believe me the people of these places are highly respectable and 100% opposite to the ones in Murree, I am telling this from first hand experience.

  8. akbar  January 11, 2022 12:26 pm/ Reply

    while international food chains like macdonalds was providing shelter in their venue, these vultures were turning their backs on families, this has happened before and they must be held accountable

  9. Mohammad Ashraf  January 11, 2022 4:14 pm/ Reply

    In future people should avoid going to Murree and go to other areas which are definitely better in all respects.
    I and family do not ever plan to go to Murree in future.

  10. Ld1  January 11, 2022 4:49 pm/ Reply

    Mate no one should go there for an year and see than what happen there, I’m sure there are lots of other beautiful places in pakistan. Tc AH

  11. Mohammed Rashid  January 11, 2022 7:52 pm/ Reply

    How can the government sit back and take these lies from the murre hotel owners they are nothing but greedy predators
    I went to mures from Uk in August and weather was cool not very busy and the rates the hotel owners were charging was astronomical
    For just food people were driving back into the nearest town eating there and coming back all the hotel owners are nothing but greedy buggers and the governments done absolute right by sealing off at least 3 of the hotels concerned every single hotel should be fined and capped for the prices they can charge

  12. Mohammed Rashid  January 11, 2022 7:55 pm/ Reply

    One must feel sorry for the ilitarate uneducated people who died mostly due to carbon monoxide poisoning
    Because they did not realise that their exhaust were blocked by snow and all the fumes were redirected back into the cars had they been more aware and cleared the snow from behind their exhausts non of them woukd have died

  13. Dan  January 12, 2022 1:17 am/ Reply

    Murree has been like this always – greedy and deceitful – I have visited it one and only time in 1993 and that was enough to never go again. Agree that Naran, Kaghan are other areas are much better places both in terms of beauty and nicer people. There is no oversight from any government agencies and it will never happen so its better to avoid going to this crazy destination.

  14. Asif  January 12, 2022 12:36 pm/ Reply

    its partially our mistake as well. why give this much importance to murree, there are other places as well. In my experience they are high level manipulators and arrogant. I have been going there every year since 6 years but now on I would certainly avoid murree for sure, insha’Allah. my heart goes out to the grieved families. its an utter negligence of our local government.

  15. Kashif Ghauri..  January 12, 2022 12:55 pm/ Reply

    No management seen over all…..all responsibility goes to traffic police that y not they keep record of the vehicles…..in / out….y they allowed the heavy no. of cars to enter in such condition where already alert was notified.

    • Ms. A  January 13, 2022 4:39 pm/ Reply

      Are there any schools in Muree? The textbooks should be changed to include lessons about proper business and ethical norms. Also police in entire area of Muree and Islamabad need basic training in traffic logistics.

  16. Kashif Ghauri..  January 12, 2022 12:59 pm/ Reply

    Boycott Murree……to avoid such huge no.s of deaths..

  17. Shakir Ali Khan  January 12, 2022 10:33 pm/ Reply

    Punjab Chief Minister should adopt the following steps:
    a) Form a Regional Price & Quality Control Authority, headed by a Magistrate.
    b) Arrange for a survey of all hotels in that area and award rating according to the quality of services provided by them.
    c) Fix the room rent. The rates should in two categories: From 15th November to 15th Feb and 16th Feb to 14th Nov. Rates of Nov to Feb should be slightly high
    d) Fix the food prices
    e) Special arrangement should be made for bulk transportation of food items and raw materials for cooking food. One should realize that vendors cannot offer food items at the prices prevailing in other cities due to heavy transportation cost. If the Govt makes a wholesale markets at some places, where items could be available at cheaper prices, the retailers can sale them at cheaper prices.
    f) Govt itself should set up more hotels and food outlets, and operate them with public-Private participation.
    g) In future, do not ignore the Mat Department alerts.

    Honorable PM is specially requested to initiate.

    • Ms. A.  January 13, 2022 5:37 pm/ Reply

      Excellent advice, unfortunately it will fall on deaf ears.

  18. Muhammad Adil Khan  January 13, 2022 12:34 pm/ Reply

    Now they blame poor Pathan kids for selling eggs.
    these rubbish hotels owners have nothing now to say…
    this is the government duty to seal all their hotels and punish them hard so they learn lesson for the future.

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