The Sindh government ordered on Friday that all markets, shops, and shopping malls in the province close at 9 p.m., including the commercial hub of Karachi, while wedding halls close at 10:30 p.m. and hotels, restaurants, coffee shops, and cafes close at 11 p.m. The provincial government stated in a statement that the measures were implemented in response to the country’s energy crisis.
It went on to say that the crisis had induced the Sindh government to initiate sections of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Act, 2010, and issue an order limiting the operating hours of shops and restaurants.
The notification went on to say that the country’s energy shortage needed to be addressed right away.
“The urgent need to take the effective measures for the conservation of energy in Sindh throug a two-pronged approach, i.e. to utilize the daylight hours for business activities and minimize the possible adverse impact of the business activities,” it read.
The order to halt business hours, however, does not apply to pharmacies, hospitals, gas stations, or bakeries.
The orders will be imposed with immediate effect from 5 p.m. on Friday until the end of the month, according to the notification.
The notice was issued by the provincial government to relevant authorities, including police stations, and authorized them to file complaints against violators under Section 188 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).
However, the province’s traders have denied the decision. Ajmal Baloch, President of the All Pakistan Traders Association, stated that traders in Sindh would not close their shops at 9 p.m. under any circumstances.
He added that instead of problems, the Sindh government should ensure facilities for the business community.
Separately, the energy ministry clarified that no proposal to close commercial transmission lines from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. was under consideration.
According to a statement released by the ministry, media reports about the closure of commercial feeders were false.
Meanwhile, the country’s total power shortfall has reached 7,577 MW.
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