Businessmen, restaurant owners, and traders protested the government’s proposal to close markets at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
The National Energy Conservation Plan, which includes steps to ensure the prudent use of national resources, was adopted by the federal cabinet on Tuesday. These measures include early market and restaurant closings and a ban on the use of electric appliances in all government buildings.
The cabinet resolved to implement the Energy Conservation Plan across the nation with immediate effect during a meeting presided over by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on the recommendation of the Power Division. The scheme was intended to assure savings totaling hundreds of billions of rupees, as the administration had hoped.
Business community leaders Atiq Mir, Sharjeel Gopalani, and Jameel Paracha declared their intention to oppose the policy at a joint press conference in Karachi.
Mir warned of “serious protests if the stores are forcibly shuttered” in response to the proposal to push for early market closures.
When a government doesn’t even have ministers, how can it act in the interests of the people? He pointed out that “the defense minister is making energy decisions” while making fun of Asif.
Why doesn’t the government abolish the privileges enjoyed by the wealthy class? As an austerity measure, Mir questioned his suggestion that “ministers discontinue their trips abroad.”
All Pakistan Restaurant Joint Action Committee President Chaudhry Muhammad Farooq expressed strong objections to the government’s suggested energy-saving measures during a separate press conference.
Farooq stated that the decision to close markets early has “put the economy in hot waters” and will “create even greater challenges for a country already standing on the verge of default.”