Shops, Markets, and commercial establishments in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad will now close at 9 PM, according to a recent notification issued on Saturday. The decision was taken by the civic authorities to conserve electricity amidst the looming energy crisis in the nation.
Islamabad Administration has implemented closure of business timing regime with in revenue limits of Islamabad. All stake holders are requested to note👇👇 pic.twitter.com/eey9vx20Sl— Office of Deputy Commissioner Islamabad (@dcislamabad) June 18, 2022
Deputy Commissioner of Islamabad, Irfan Nawaz Memon shared the notice on Twitter limiting the business hours of mercantile activity in the city. According to the new rule, shops, markets, wedding halls, clubs, cafes, cinemas and public parks will work on a limited operational basis until early hours of the night.
While the business entities have been asked to close by 9 PM, Marriage halls and exhibitions could be kept open until 10 PM only. Other public recreational facilities like Cinemas will only be allowed to function until 11:30 PM. However, essential services like vegetable markets, milk shops, pharmacies, clinics and hospitals, and repair shops would be exempted from the new rule.
The order, which shall remain in force for two subsequent months, came after the district magistrate realised a steep increase in electricity consumption due to the hot weather in the city. “The whole of Islamabad is facing severe power outage because of electricity shortage,” the notice mentioned.
The order asked that there is an ‘urgent need’ to conduct business activities in daylight without imparting adverse effects on the business activities ‘so that electricity remains available for critical establishments’ – the note read.
Amidst the looming power crisis in the country, Islamabad has followed suit after the states of Sindh and Punjab have already taken similar measures to curtail business hours in the name of an energy conservation drive. Earlier on Saturday, the Punjab state government announced the closure of business activities across the province by 9 PM.
On Friday, The Sindh Government too announced the limitation regarding operational timings of commercial entities in the province owing to the prevalent power outages and load shedding. With such measures, Pakistan aims at bridging the gap between the demand and supply of electricity which is one of the primary reasons behind the larger energy crisis in the nation.
Energy Crisis in Pakistan
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is facing high power shortages in the country after the demands owing to the summer months have increased rapidly as compared to the the total electricity generation. There have been reports of long hours of load shedding in the country, leaving the people to suffer in high temperatures.
Another reason which has contributed to the energy crisis in Pakistan is the rise in global fuel prices after the Russia-Ukraine War after which the Pakistani Rupee is hitting record low as compared to the Dollar. In desperate measures to curtain the crisis, governments and other civic bodies in Pakistan are reducing their official working hours to save as much electricity possible.
In summer Load shedding in the country has reached 10-12 hours in cities and 14-16 hours in rural areas. This has to do with power plants reducing electricity generation capabilities due to scarcity of natural gas and hydropower in the country. The overall energy crisis has thus affected electricity production in the country, leading to an individual electricity crisis on its own.
As part of the national energy conservation drive, Pakistan reduced its official working week from six days to five. The national cabinet has also set up a committee to work out plans for working from home on Fridays for government and semi-government offices, including early closure of commercial markets.