Home Latest News Sindh Orders Early Closure of Markets amidst ‘Energy Crisis Emergency’

Sindh Orders Early Closure of Markets amidst ‘Energy Crisis Emergency’

Order for markets to close by 9 p.m. to remain in force from 5 p.m. on June 17 (Friday) till July 16 (Saturday)

by Newsweek Pakistan

File photo. Asif Hassan—AFP

The Sindh Home Department on Friday ordered all commercial markets of the province to shutter by 9 p.m., noting this was part of measures being undertaken to reduce power outages and minimize the impact of energy shortfall across Pakistan.

In a notification referring to the Energy Crisis Emergency, the provincial government said that medical stores, pharmacies, hospitals, petrol pumps, CNG stations, bakeries and milk shops were exempt from the early closure orders, adding that marriage functions in halls and banquets could continue until 10:30 p.m. “All hotels, restaurants, coffee shops and cafes shall be closed by 11 p.m.,” it said.

The Home Department said there was an “urgent need” to take effective measures for energy conservation through a two-pronged approach—utilizing daylight hours for business activities and minimizing the impact of early closures on businesses—in light of prevalent power outages and a persistent shortfall between the supply and demand of electricity. “It is necessary and expedient to enforce certain restrictions in order to control increasing shortfall between energy generation and its utilization, so that this prevalent emergency of the energy shortfall may be controlled, which otherwise could have long-term and multi-sectoral impacts on lives of the general public of the Sindh province,” it added.

Citing Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, and Sections 14(3) and 16 of the National Disaster Management Authority Act, 2010, the notification also directed all police stations to register any complaints against the enforcement of the measures under Section 188 of the Pakistan Penal Code. “Further, any violation of this order shall also invite action under Section 33 of the National Disaster Management Authority Act, 2010 by the respective district administration within their respective territorial jurisdictions; and any other relevant law in vogue by the relevant authorities,” it added.

Pakistan is in the midst of an energy crisis, with hours-long blackouts in several parts of the country. According to the government, the current electricity demand of around 28GW is exceeding generation of 21GW, implying a 25 percent shortfall in total demand. In a bid to reduce loadshedding, the government has already reduced the working week to five days, with the federal cabinet considering additional energy conservation measures, including setting aside a day every week to work-from-home.

Authorities have also urged the public to reduce its power consumption, stressing on utilizing daylight hours and not relying on electricity during the night, adding that this can help reduce loadshedding and ensure both industries and domestic consumers do not go powerless.

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