Don't wear socks, hot Pakistanis told amid power crisis

ISLAMABAD Mon May 20, 2013 4:19pm IST

A technician is silhouetted as he works on power lines supplying electricity in the outskirts of Lahore January 31, 2012. REUTERS/Mohsin Raza

A technician is silhouetted as he works on power lines supplying electricity in the outskirts of Lahore January 31, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Mohsin Raza

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan has told civil servants not to wear socks as the country turns off air-conditioners amid a chronic power crisis and soaring temperatures.

The government has turned off all air-conditioning in its offices as the country endures blackouts of up to 20 hours a day in some places.

"There shall be no more use of air-conditioners in public offices till such time that substantial improvement in the energy situation takes place," a cabinet directive said.

As part of a new dress code, moccasins or sandals must be worn without socks.

The power shortages have sparked violent protests and crippled key industries, costing hundreds of thousands of jobs in a country already beset by high unemployment, a failing economy, widespread poverty and a Taliban insurgency.

The "load-shedding" means many families cannot pump water, let alone run air-conditioners, with a disastrous knock-on effect on health and domestic life.

Frustration over the power cuts contributed to the former ruling party's poor showing in a May 11 general election.

Two ministers in charge of water and power explained what can be done to end power cuts in parts of the country enduring temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius and above - absolutely nothing, it seems, except raise prices.

Ministers Musadiq Malik and Sohail Wajahat Siddiqui "expressed their inability to overcome the crisis", the Daily Times quoted them as telling a news conference in Lahore, where the temperature was 40 C on Monday.

"They have termed financial constraints as a major, and incompetence as a minor, hurdle in resolving the issue," the newspaper said.

"Presenting the realistic picture, the ministers announced that they were going to increase the price of electricity and gas for all sectors."

They gave no details but said the problem would get worse before it gets better.

About two-thirds of Pakistan's energy is generated by oil and gas and there are widespread gas shortages, with cars run by CNG, compressed natural gas, queuing up for hours overnight to fill their tanks.

(Reporting by Nick Macfie; Editing by Robert Birsel)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

INDIA-U.S. TIES

TOP SHOWCASE

Gaza Violence

Gaza Violence

Israel strikes house of Hamas Gaza leader, digs in for long fight.  Full Article 

Ferry Disaster

Ferry Disaster

Doomed South Korean ferry boss's driver turns himself in.  Full Article 

Cyber Surveillance

Cyber Surveillance

U.S. senator to propose strong curbs on NSA phone data collection.  Full Article 

India in England

India in England

Bell recaptures form as England punish India.  Full Article 

Ebola Outbreak

Ebola Outbreak

Nigeria isolates hospital in Lagos as Obama briefed on Ebola outbreak.  Full Article 

Anti-trust Probe

Anti-trust Probe

Microsoft targeted in apparent Chinese anti-trust probe.  Full Article 

Proteas on Top

Proteas on Top

S.Africa secure draw to reclaim top test ranking.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage