Pakistan's government has ordered all malls and markets to close by 8:30pm among other measures in a new energy conservation plan, the defence minister said on Tuesday, as the country grapples with an economic crisis.
The country's foreign exchange reserve levels barely cover a month's worth of imports, most of which are accounted for by energy purchases from abroad, with funds expected under an International Monetary Fund programme having been delayed.
Khawaja Asif told journalists that measures approved by the cabinet aims to save the cash-strapped country about 62 billion Pakistani rupees ($273.4 million).
He said additional immediate measures included shutting wedding halls by 10 p.m. daily. He added that some market representatives had pushed for longer hours, but the government decided that earlier closure was needed.
Asif also said that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has ordered all government departments to reduce electricity consumption by 30%. ($1 = 226.7500 Pakistani rupees)