Government Announces Nationwide Market Closure by 8 PM

During a meeting of the National Economic Council chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in Islamabad, it was announced that the federal and provincial governments in Pakistan have reached an agreement to implement nationwide market closures by 8 PM. This decision aims to address the energy crisis and promote energy conservation. Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal confirmed this development, with the chief ministers from Sindh, Punjab, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, as well as the planning minister of Balochistan, in attendance.

The early closure of markets is expected to result in significant annual savings of approximately $1 billion. The provincial representatives present at the meeting were advised to enforce this measure to preserve valuable resources. Energy conservation has emerged as a crucial challenge for Pakistan, and the government is striving to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and imported oil, while placing greater emphasis on energy conservation. The promotion of renewable energy sources such as solar, hydropower, and wind is a priority, while the introduction of new projects relying on imported fuels will be discouraged.

In January of this year, the federal government had already approved an energy conservation plan, which included closing markets and malls by 8:30 PM, as well as banning the use of inefficient appliances, aiming to save around Rs62 billion annually. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had further instructed all federal government departments to reduce their electricity consumption by 30%. Despite these measures, full implementation has not been achieved nationwide.

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