The opposition Monday accused the government of ‘criminal negligence’ in dealing with the event that led to the death of more than 21 tourists in Murree and called for formation of a judicial commission to probe the tragic incident while the treasury continued defending the government saying the previous governments did nothing to make adequate policies in this regard. According to the agenda released by the National Assembly (NA) Secretariat, the House was scheduled to discuss the controversial Finance (Supplementary) Bill, generally known as the mini-budget. However, the discussion was deferred for today (Tuesday). Shortly after the recitation of the Holy Quran and the singing of the national anthem, NA Speaker Asad Qaiser, who chaired the NA session, said that the House would discuss the tragic incident in Murree and suspended other agendas including mini-budget. When the Speaker gave floor to Leader of the Opposition Shehbaz Sharif in the NA, he demanded formation of a judicial commission to probe the Murree tragedy in which more than 21 people lost their lives after being stranded in a heavy snow. Condemning the incident, he termed it “mismanagement” on part of the government that led to the tragic deaths. “Twenty-three people lost their lives in the tragic incident, while tourists were stuck in snow for more than 20 hours but no one bothered to help them,” Shehbaz Sharif said. He added that people kept calling for help but neither the traffic police nor any other body was there to assist them. “The Murree tragedy is nothing but an administrative failure and it demonstrates the incompetence and criminal negligence of the incumbent government,” he said. He further said it was not the first time that Murree received a heavy snowfall and this time, snowstorms had been forecast, so the authorities concerned could have taken preventative measures beforehand. The PML-N president criticized Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statement in which he said the district administration was unprepared to deal with the situation. “If the administration was not prepared for the situation, then what are you doing? Resign from the post and go back home,” Shehbaz Sharif said. “When the tragic incident happened a ‘Neru’ was sleeping in Islamabad, while the other one was busy rigging Punjab’s local bodies elections,” he lamented to the government’s authorities. Soon after the opposition leader’s speech, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari began by lamenting the fact that innocent families and children, who were stranded in snow around two hours from the capital, did not receive the help they deserved. On the other hand, the government took all necessary measures when a relative of the premier was stuck in Chitral due to bad weather, he said in an apparent reference to PM Imran’s sister Aleema Khan who was among tourists rescued after a glacial outburst in 2019. He reiterated the opposition leader’s demand for a judicial inquiry into the incident so that action could be taken against those responsible. “We will only be able to make arrangements for preventing such incidents in the future after conducting a proper investigation,” the PPP chairperson said. He said forgetting the incident and merely forming a committee to investigate it would be an injustice to the families of the victims. He added that Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar was attending a PTI meeting when the incident was taking place. “The entire nation saw that the army and the administration managed the rescue work. He merely conducted an aerial inspection and returned.” Later, the joint opposition decided to stage a protest demonstration outside the Parliament House on Friday against the ruling PTI over the rising inflation in the country. This was decided during a meeting held at the chamber of Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif. Bilawal Bhutto, JUI-F leader MaulanaAsad Mahmood and other opposition leaders attended the meeting. Shehbaz urged the opposition leaders to ensure their presence during the NA session, the sources said, adding that the members declared the mini-budget ‘anti-people’, which should not be allowed to pass.