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Market closing timings extended to 10pm

Market closing timings extended to 10pm

ISLAMABAD: Ceding to the demands of traders and the business community, the government on Friday agreed to allow shops in Islamabad to operate up to 10pm and restaurants as long as they wanted.

Addressing a press conference at the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), MNA Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had accepted the demand of the businessmen to extend the shop closing timing to 10pm.

Flanked by leaders of the business community, the MNA said there would be no loadshedding in the markets from 6pm to 9pm but those who wanted to keep their shops open from 9pm to 10pm can use UPS or generators.

“This is the success of the trust that the government has in the business community,” he said.

The MNA also said the time cap on restaurants and eateries had been lifted. “The decision in this regard has been taken to discipline the consumer pattern in the country and we hope to implement the closure timings in other parts of the country,” said the PML-N MNA from Islamabad.

In order to save electricity in the country, the prime minister during a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Energy on April 8 decided to implement the market closure drive starting from Islamabad.

The conservation drive called for closing of shops in the federal capital at 8pm and restaurants and bakeries by 11pm. The marriage halls/marquee managers were told to end functions by 10pm.

However, the traders and business community opposed the decision and held a shutter-down strike on April 28.

While magistrates with the help of the police continued arresting shopkeepers found violating the timings, the traders maintained their defiance, eventually forcing the government to give in.

“This is the success of the unity among the business community,” said Muzzamil Hussain Sabri, the president of the ICCI. “But at the same time, it is our responsibility to ensure that traders do not keep their shops open beyond 10pm.”

He said closing shops at 10pm was not only related to energy conservation but would also have an impact on improving the consumer pattern in the city.

“We all should understand that rising crime threats and issues related to law and order does not allow late night shopping,” Mr Sabri added.

Published in Dawn, May 23rd, 2015

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