Pakistan to shut markets at 8.30 pm to conserve electricity
Islamabad: In a bid to conserve energy, the cash-strapped Pakistan government has decided to ban wedding functions in Islamabad city after 10 pm and shut markets across the country at 8.30 pm, according to media reports on Wednesday. Pakistan, which is facing a worsening power crisis, has taken various steps to bring down the consumption of electricity to reduce load shedding, will now ban wedding functions after 10 pm in Islamabad with effect from June 8, Geo News reported.
The current power crisis in the country, which has also affected Pakistan’s economy, has forced the National Economic Council (NEC) to order the closure of markets across the country at 8.30 pm (local time).
The Wednesday decision, taken during a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and attended by the chief ministers of all provinces, except for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa CM, was taken in order to deal with the energy crisis.
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A statement issued to this effect added that chief ministers of Sindh, Punjab, and Balochistan have sought two days’ time to consult holds with the traders’ association, but agreed to the move.
Power Minister Khurrum Dastagir in an address to the press said the early closure of markets and work-from-home arrangements could save electricity.
“The electricity being produced in the country is 22,000 MW and the requirement is 26,000 MW,” said the minister, adding that there was about 4,000MW energy shortfall in the country.
The federal cabinet has also restored the Saturday holiday in government offices to curb the use of energy and gradually bring down electricity load shedding to two hours a day by the end of June.
With the economy in tatters and political instability looming large due to protests by former prime minister Imran Khan, there is an increasing threat of Pakistan going the Sri Lankan way if quick measures are not taken.
Long queues were witnessed outside fueling stations in Karachi, Rawalpindi and Islamabad as panic-stricken citizens, following Finance Minister Miftah Ismail’s remarks about a possible hike, queued up at petrol pumps while several filling stations shut down, forcing the finance minister to issue a clarification saying the government was not planning to further increase fuel prices.