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‘Population is less in countries where markets shuts down at 8 pm’: Pak Minister’s bizarre justification of ‘energy conservation plan’

Pakistani minister Khawaja Asif offered a bizarre theory to justify the country’s ‘energy conservation plan’. He said countries where markets shut at 8 PM have significantly lower population, alluding that markets remaining operational after 8 PM contribute to population growth.

On Tuesday (January 3), Pakistani Minister Khawaja Asif courted controversy for claiming that early closure of markets helps in controlling the population.

In a video that has now gone viral on social media, Asif was heard as saying, “In places where markets close by 8 pm, only fewer children are born. Think about the efficiency of the Pakistani people. Markets are closing at 1 am but they are still producing more kids.”

He made the remarks while trying to rationalise the new ‘National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Plan’ of the Pakistani government. Khawaja Asif is a seasoned politician, associated with Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz). 

The Pakistan government on Tuesday announced plans to reduce energy consumption nationwide whereby it proposes to close markets by 8:30 pm and wedding halls by 10 pm, in view of the rising circular debt in the energy sector.

“The plan will change the overall lifestyle and habit pattern of the nation and save us Pkr 60 billion,” Pakistan Defence Minister Khawaja Asif was quoted as saying by Dawn newspaper during a press conference. Addressing the presser alongside other key ministers, Asif said that the production of fans run on electricity will be halted in Pakistan by July.

“Inefficient fans use around 120-130 watts of electricity. Across the globe, fans are available that use 60-80 watts,” he said. This development comes as a Pakistan media report said this policy is aimed at saving energy as the government resolves to reduce circular debt in the energy sector.

The power division in Pakistan has said that the circular debt which stood at Pkr2.253 trillion by end of September last year had now reached Pkr2.437 trillion, the Dawn report said citing media reports. The Pakistan Defence Minister said that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has directed to decrease the usage of electricity used by all federal government departments by 30 percent.

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