In this great nation America, Human Life has an outstanding value. By Law, which is strictly adhered to, every office, apartment or workplace must prominently display the safety instructions including an escape plan in case of fire, earthquake or a tornado.

These drills are routinely practised. All buildings must by law have multiple exits. Firefighters and first responders are committed service-providers and deeply respected in the society. The sense of human, occupational and recreational safety is widespread and pervasively enabled to tackle with an emergency.

Children are taught and practise in schools actions in case of an emergency including terror threatens. That is how a society takes shape where human life has a value. The communication system including television services in an area are tuned to deliver instant warning of a flash flood, fire or a tornado and will broadcast safety steps for the residents.

If a runaway criminal is suspected in the area, his details and those of the vehicle are instantly shared suspending normal transmissions. That is when life has a value.

Trek to Murree between Sunny Bank, Jhika Galli, Kuldana and Barian - the enclosed real estate on the edge of Murree main and a very frequent path into and out of Murree and other popular sites. This entire stretch has four military garrisons located astride with numerous private holdings in between.

Call it the hub in Murree where spokes connect centrally. This is where I would keep most of my snow clearing machines because of its centrality and connectivity.

This is what got bombed by snow on January 7th. And this where at least twenty-three people died, if not more, to freezing in their vehicles, possibly asphyxia and to simple callousness of those who were meant to keep them alive.

These deaths also betrayed an absence of a safety system meant to provide immediate response to

human facing death. Possibly, bits and pieces of a safety network existed but these weren't woven into a system.

We are devoid of the intellect to form one, of any kind. What came later was hogwash. The twenty three or more who died showed us our real face and our real worth as people and as a society.

What's a weather warning? How many understand it or even care to know this seeming inanity from the Met Department?

With the technology at hand weather forecasts are the closest to reality in prediction. Yet, who did it make it to? NDMA? Usman Buzdar or his Staff Officer or the chief secretary? It was all over the news.

Did the PM take note or bother to ask his staff or the minister for tourism to enquire how was Punjab coping with what was meant to be emergent and intense? Did the army begin to prepare for it? They usually do bringing their own into safety.

Did they check with the Murree administration if it needed help or initiated to offer support? What were the Assistant Commissioner Bahadur Sahab and the municipal authorities up to in the hours leading to the imminent catastrophe?

Hunkering down for it to pass? Leaving people in their cars to freeze to death or simply be asphyxiated in the next twenty hours?

Someone please teach humanity to these mountain dwellers. Societies are not meant to be rapacious and predatory. Some of us may have killed some of us that day for being exactly that.

A simple shove to move a vehicle out of snow cost Rs 1,500 per person that day.

So this lot stranded along the stretch in Murree had only God to look to. And God had already ordered a deluge for the night and death at the hands of their fellow human beings.

In each of His doings He leaves a lesson which if unlearnt will only multiply into a greatly devastating tragedy.

In sadness, The World Students Society thanks author Shezad Chaudhry for his ever illuminating writings.


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