Pakistan to close malls,

Pakistan to close malls,

Pakistan’s government has ordered measures to conserve energy, including closing all malls and

markets by 8:30pm (15:30 GMT), as the country grapples with a cri power and economic crisis.

The cabinet-approved measures

about 62 billion Pakistani rupees ($273m), Defense Minister Khawaja Asif told journalists on Tuesday READING
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Pakistan finds itself strapped for cash as money expected to come in under an

International Monetary Fund (IMF) programmed Its foreign exchange reserves now barely cover a month of imports, most of which are for energy purchases.

The defense minister said additional measures that will take immediate effect

include shutting restaurants and wedding halls by 10pm (17:00 GMT). He said some market representatives had pushed for longer hours, but the government decided that an earlier

Asif also said Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif had ordered all government departments to reduce electricity consumption by 30 percent.

defat Islamabad has differences with the IMF over a review the

agency is conducting of policy and reforms it is requiring in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s total liquid foreign exchange reserves stood late last month at $11.7bn, $5.8bn of which are with the central bank.

Asif said the energy conservation plan also includes a ban on the production of

inefficient light bulbs from February and fans from July.

He said Pakistan’s peak summer electricity

12,000 MW in the winter, mainly due to the use of fans in hotter weather.

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