Defence Minister Khawaja Asif has suggested taking advantage of "365 days of sunshine" and operate markets in the daytime as opposed to the convention of "opening markets at 1pm and closing them at 1am", as policymakers seek solutions to conserve energy amid an acute crisis.
"Our markets open at 1pm and close at 1am. This [practice] is found nowhere in the world," Asif tweeted late Saturday night. "God has given our country 365 days of sunshine and yet we turn on the lights in the dark to do business."
If markets set the right business hours then — with Karachi excluded — 3,500MW of electricity can be saved. "Tough circumstances call for tough decisions," he added.
His suggestion came a day after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif held a marathon five-hour meeting to come up with an "emergency plan" aimed at reducing power cuts that have roiled the country amid reported shortfalls of 7,000MW.
In the meeting yesterday, PM Shehbaz directed relevant authorities to come up with a plan to curtail loadshedding within 24 hours.
The meeting was called to discuss the issue of loadshedding in the country and problems being faced by citizens in general and the business community in particular. Federal ministers and high level officials were in attendance.
The meeting took place amid reports about hours-long loadshedding in various parts of the country, leaving the people to suffer in high temperatures.
“The premier has sought an emergency plan from the authorities concerned within 24 hours regarding reduction in electricity loadshedding,” Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said in a statement issued after the meeting.