Asif urges traders, media to follow govt’s energy saving plan


4,000 MW power can be saved by shutting business at Maghreb

Ijaz Kakakhel

The federal government on Thursday sought support from the traders and media for the government’s energy conservation plan by closing markets early and changing the mindset.

Federal Minister for Defence Khawaja Asif expressed these views while addressing a press conference here on Thursday. He said that the coalition government inherited economy in tatters from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf led government.

Flanked by Qamar Zaman Kaira and Asad Mehmood, Khawaja Asif said that former Prime Minister Imran Khan always makes claims about alleged conspiracy against him but never talks about performance of his government.

The minister added that PTI Chairman left the country on verge of collapse and now the government has no choice but to take tough decisions. He emphasized on a united effort to face the current crisis in the country.

The minister said that a huge amount of electricity can be saved if people start their businesses early in the morning and close by Maghreb prayers. He said that saving electricity means saving oil.

“Neither will we have to use expensive oil that much and nor will the consumers have to bear the burden of expensive electricity if we do this,” he said, adding that it is just a fundamental change that people need to bring to their lives.

Asif went on to say that Pakistan will have to see what others around it are doing. He said that 3,500 megawatts of electricity can be saved through this method and the amount will go over 4,000 MW if Karachi also follows it.

He, however, said that the traders are currently not willing to accept the suggestion. “They accepted this during Covid-19 due to the fear of the virus,” he said. The minister urged the government to impose the restriction with all its will and the people to accept it.

“It will benefit the common man and acquisition of commodities at lower prices would become a possibility. He said that the government will take the responsibility to lessen the inflation and difficulties of a common man. He said that the fuel prices would go down if the Russian-Ukraine war stops.

He said that the PTI leaders do not talk about their misgovernance and lecture them on inflation. “Nowhere in the world are the markets open till 1:00am. If markets are closed soon, oil can be saved by conserving electricity.”

However, he said, the traders are not ready to accept this proposal yet. At the national level, no one has tried to make electricity and oil economical. The government will do its best to provide economic security to the people, the minister said.

“Austerity is the need of the hour and it should be a part of our culture.” “Opening businesses at 8, 9 in the morning and shutting down between Isha and Maghreb can save a lot of electricity,” the minister added. “Let’s make business hours realistic,” he requested.

Speaking on the occasion, Senior PPP leader and adviser to the Prime Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said that “we must change our habits and unite” while responding to the latest petrol price hike. “With a heavy heart, the government had to make an extremely unwanted decision,” Kaira said, adding that the money from the national treasury started draining due to subsidies as the fuel prices increased when the incumbent government took charge.

He said that the experts and media were asking why the government was not making immediate decisions to stop the decline.


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