ISLAMABAD - Traders of the federal capital on Tuesday rejected the decision taken in the second National Energy Conference to close the markets at 08:00 p.m. and threatened to launch civil disobedience movement if the proposed step was imposed.

“The decisions are political, unilateral and contrary to the ground realities while stakeholders were not taken into confidence,” said Malik Sohail, Vice President National Traders Alliance. Speaking in a meeting, he said that traders would not accept the decisions taken in the energy conference.

He said that how can traders close shops at 08:00 p.m. when people come out of homes for shopping after dusk. Similarly, he said that business community was not taken on board before taking this decision, as many chambers and associations were not invited, those who are invited were not allowed to talk while some walked out in protest, he said, adding that the outcome of this conference will be no different than the former one.

Malik Sohail said that resolution of crisis lies in building reservoirs and utilising Thar coal. However it is amazing that rulers preferred rental power projects to drain national exchequer. He further said that government always claim to prefer trade over aid but it has always been conspiring against trading community. 

Other who spoke on the occasion said that Supreme Court has recovered Rs 8 billion of money looted by rulers in the name of rental power, which is in fact tip of the iceberg. There is no petroleum policy in country; concerned ministry is only interested in plunder and disheartening investors. There is no exploration, no block has been auctioned in the last four years and no efforts have been initiated to attract investors, they said.

Meanwhile, in other development, traders of the federal capital staged a protest in front of the Parliament House against the government’s decision to increase the POL, CNG and electricity prices.

The traders were holding placards and banners and were chanting slogans against the government. They demanded of the government to withdraw this decision as soon as possible.

Online adds: The residents of the federal capital are dejected over prolonged energy outages specially the cuts in power these days like in other remote areas and cities of the country. The residents, students, traders and civil society expressed grave concern over long-standing power loadshedding in various sectors of Islamabad as 8 to 12 hours loadshedding irks the inhabitants of the capital city.

“We had nearly eight-hour loadshedding on Tuesday. The outage has badly affected my preparations for the matric paper,” a student at G-10 said. While speaking at a press briefing after chairing the second national energy conference on Monday Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani acknowledged energy crisis was affecting every sector of the country and expressed determination to overcome it with the cooperation of all stakeholders.

He assured the government would give serious consideration to proposals of the conference to increase electricity generation and reduce load shedding in minimum time.

But the people rejected all the assurances and promises of the government and said that the National Energy Conference is an attempt to deceive the general masses depressed over long-lasting energy shortage. While people in Islamabad are of the view that the outcome of this useless conference will not be different from previous conferences that concluded with big claims but contributed nothing towards reducing the energy shortfall.