So, now we can all have electricity “free”, choking hot, not-so-pleasant summer evenings at home, as the government  decides to “battle” power shortage through “smart” means – such as the closure of shops at 8pm. Yes that is true.  You might wonder what made you go out in the “middle” of the night when you find the pitch darkness outside mocking you – but actually, it is only 10.

The federal administration, at the orders of the federal government, is trying to enforce a certain lifestyle on its people overnight, in an attempt to save electricity. Will it do them any good? One can look at the ghost town that Islamabad, turns into each evening ever since this new rule came into execution. Eight in the evening in Pakistan is the hour that Cinderella’s carriage turns into a pumpkin.  The silent mobile police vans with their blue sirens visible from miles, patrol each market, and chase the “culprits” down, when needed, to reinstate the “writ” of the state.  Yes, no more burgers for any mischievous Isloo-ite sneaking out of the house at an ungodly hour (that is, after 7 pm).

There is no doubt that Pakistan is facing an acute power shortage, but is this the solution to all our miseries? The shutdown formula hardly works as policing attacks the free will of the citizens, it challenges their liberty and it jeopardizes their basic rights. Already fuelling half of the business hours through generators, businessmen do not appear to be in any mood to bow their heads before this new moronic rule. 

The summer days are long but extremely bothersome due to frantic heat; by the time the cool weather starts to kick in, it is already past seven. Why are the authorities forcing people into crusading against their ridiculous laws? The not-so-booming businesses and a terror stricken society need a breather.  If these small, harmless activities are to be penalized, let’s already say goodbye to a bit of the sanity left inside us.  The long strolls on quiet evenings have long been a thing of the past, due to the law-and-order situation; now people only plan to shop at well lit areas, dine out or just get together to grab a scoop of ice-cream.  It can be wisely concluded that Pakistanis have been robbed of these pleasures, too, now.  They can work all day and rot in hell if they wish to, since there are going to be no avenues left for relaxation. 

What if you are at work during the day? That question evidently slipped right out of the authorities’ mind.  Who works at those hours? If anyone actually does, then he or she can alter their “ill-habits” in the greater national interest.  Or if this is too much of a sacrifice and purchasing items of need is too important for these mere mortals, then they can leave their office before their shift ends. What the government’s got to do, the government’s got to do.

Looks like we, as a nation, are too prone to committing fatal blunders. The country has been paying a heavy price for proliferating a plastic and borrowed lifestyle in the mid-eighties, but the decision makers still haven’t learnt their lessons. By killing our economy, discouraging buyers, violating their rights and choking them to death will only add frustration to an already miserable nation. It would be more beneficial if the police patrolled to safeguard businesses and their customers, instead of harassing the residents of a town is already infamously quiet. 

Instead of offering them something constructive, something that adds life to these miserable souls, the authorities are unabashedly busy in destroying what little of their life remains – without providing any alternatives.