Traders across the country are protesting the federal government’s intention to close all markets and restaurants by 8:30 pm as part of a new energy conservation strategy, arguing that such measures cannot be utilized to save energy.
According to Kashif Chaudhry, the head of Markazi Tanzeem-e-Tajran Pakistan (MTTP), the government devised the strategy without engaging the business community and did not follow the energy saving plan.
Kashif Chaudhry stated that “it is not possible to conserve energy by such means” and forewarned of “strong pushback” if the government attempted to forcibly shut down the market.
He regretted that in spite of clamorous objections and guarantees from the authorities, the government chose to carry out its “unilateral” action.
He encouraged the government to prevent its employees from using heaters and air conditioners in their offices in order to conserve energy. Since we purchase the most expensive electricity, he claimed, advantageous arrangements have to be created for us.
According to Rizwan Irfan, head of the Karachi Electronics Dealers Association, the Sindh government has met with owners of restaurants and wedding venues to discuss energy-saving measures.
He asserted that at the meetings, all parties concurred that markets and malls should be allowed to remain open until nine or ten o’clock at night, while restaurants and wedding venues should be allowed to remain up until eleven or twelve.
“However, despite the Sindh government’s assurance, they imposed a unilateral decision,” Irfan lamented, asking the government to bear their expenses.
Additionally, Ilyas Memon, president of the Saddar Traders Association, claimed that the decision to close markets early amounted to the destruction of enterprises.
He said that the Sindh government should not file an FIR in accordance with the conclusions made at the consultative conference, saying “The police and the administration should not persecute the businessmen.”