Federal Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid and rescue officials said on Saturday that at least 22 people were trapped in their cars in a blizzard in Muri on Friday night and they died from the cold.
The victims included mothers, children and a group of friends who died waiting for rescue.
As the rescue operation continued, several cars were still trapped in the snow. The army has been called up.
The meteorological department predicts a blizzard on Saturday night.
The hill station was crowded after tourists headed there to witness an unusual snowfall. Last night, the government imposed a ban on the entry of tourists in Murree and Galiyat region. They were not allowed to go beyond Satra Meel Toll Plaza, except in the case of extreme emergency.
Reports of delays on roads leading to Murree surfaced Friday evening. The deaths were reported Saturday morning and first confirmed by Sheikh Rasheed.
Rasheed said 23,000 cars have been brought back, while an operation is underway to rescue another 1,000 cars trapped in the snow. Heavy machinery has been called in to clear the roads as well, he said.
According to reports, nearly 140,000 cars entered Muri this week.
But hundreds of people spent Friday night on the road. Residents took to the streets to distribute warm clothes, blankets and food to stranded tourists.
The help could not reach everyone, and people began to die because the blizzard buried their cars under a few feet of snow.
The blizzard was so severe that the government sought “undisclosed” help from the army and militia to evacuate tourists from the area.