Pakistan: After Sindh and Punjab, Islamabad opts to limit business hours

Technicians work to clean power transmission tower in Karachi, Pakistan, December 7, 2018. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro - RC11E816FCB0

Islamabad, Pakistan: Pakistan is going deep in the economic crisis with not doing any better with time. Pakistan is trying to deal with the situation by curbing the commercial power use and limiting business hours, increasing electricity tariffs and many other restrictions. Sindh and Punjab province already had restriction in wedding hours, timings of shopping malls and restaurants, now Islamabad is also planning to follow this model.

Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Irfan Nawaz Memon shared the notification on Twitter early on Sunday, Dawn reported.

The order stated that all the shops, shopping malls, bakeries and confectionaries, offices, storerooms, godowns, warehouses, and cattle markets will close at 9 pm and the timings of marriage halls, marquees, and exhibition halls would be 10 pm.

It further added that all the establishments, restaurants, clubs, tandoors, eateries, cafes, cinemas, theatres, or other places of public amusement and public parks would close at 11:30 pm.

However, the order gave the exemption to the hospitals and laboratories, clinics, pharmacies, medical stores, petrol pumps, milk shops, and other essential businesses.

The notification, which also detailed the reasons for the move, stated that the order would come into force “with immediate effect” and would remain in place for two months.

The Deputy Commissioner of Islamabad noted that the electricity demand had increased as a result of the current hot weather the country was experiencing which was subjecting critical infrastructure to extended load shedding, according to Dawn.

The notification stated that it was “necessary to enforce certain restrictions on non-essential businesses so that this prevalent emergency of the energy shortfall may be controlled in Islamabad Capital Territory”.

Earlier, the markets across Pakistan’s Sindh province have been ordered to shut down at 9 pm (local time) to save electricity amid constant power outages in the country.

Frequent load-shedding across the country has left the people to suffer sweltering high temperatures. The Shehbaz Sharif government has blamed its predecessor Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) for the energy shortfall.

The measures are being imposed to reduce the shortfall between the supply and demand of electricity. The government notification said the morning hours must be utilized for business activities.

All markets and shopping malls shall close by 9 pm, it added. The new notification however does not extend to medical stores, pharmacies, hospitals, petrol pumps, CNG stations, bakeries, and milk shops.

Earlier this week, several Pakistan federal ministers urged the traders to adopt austerity measures to reduce the wastage of fuel and electricity.

This report about the government order comes amid Pakistan’s mounting concerns over the growing energy crisis.

Due to Pakistan’s inability to make payments to the Chinese power supplies, the country lies in the abyss of electricity outages which is disrupting life and business amid this unbearable heatwave.

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