Sindh relaxes 9pm market restriction in ‘public interest’

The Sindh government said on Sunday that it was lifting operational hours restrictions for companies and markets across the province “in the public good” for a week.

The province government’s decision comes a day after the Punjab government lifted the prohibition on markets closing at 9 p.m., letting traders and retailers take advantage of the leniency till July 9, the eve of Eidul Azha.

The Sindh government announced on June 17 that marketplaces, retail malls, wedding halls, and restaurants across the province would be closed for a month till July 16 to preserve electricity during the ongoing “energy crisis emergency.”

All markets, shops, and shopping malls were ordered to close by 9 p.m., except medical stores, pharmacies, hospitals, petrol pumps, CNG stations, bakeries, and milk shops.

Furthermore, marriage halls, banquets, and wedding activities were to conclude by 10:30 p.m., while hotels, restaurants, coffee shops, and cafés had to close by 11 p.m.

However, according to a notification released today by the Sindh Home Department, the ban on the closing hours of stores, restaurants, wedding halls, and other similar establishments has been lifted until July 10.

“The earlier announcement [concerning restrictions] shall take effect immediately on July 11,” the provincial government stated.

On June 4, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif requested an ’emergency plan’ to eliminate load shedding, and a few days later, the government announced measures to address the power situation, including reducing market schedules nationwide for 30 days.

Pakistan is now experiencing an energy shortage, with portions of the country experiencing daily hours-long load shedding.