No socks rule is latest bid to ease Pakistan power cuts


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The Independent Online

Can socks, or rather an absence of them, save Pakistan this hot, blistering summer?

In the latest of a series of directives from the country’s caretaker government, officials have announced that civil servants have been told that they should not wear socks to the office as part of a plan to try and keep cool without air-conditioning.

Pakistan suffers from crippling, debilitating power cuts of up to 18 hours a day. Improving capacity and reducing those huge shortages will be among the first priorities to the country’s recently elected prime minister-in-waiting, Nawaz Sharif.

Last week, in a stop-gap move designed to try and ease the burden, the caretaker government that was put in place to run the election, announced that it was to cut off the air-conditioning in government buildings this summer, despite temperatures of more than 40C.

“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 directive from the cabinet has said, according to Reuters. As part of a new dress code, socks are not to be worn

The power shortages have sparked violent protests and crippled key industries, costing hundreds of thousands of jobs. It is the latest problem for a country already tackling a faltering economy and militants. Frustration over the power cuts contributed to the former ruling Pakistan Peoples Party showing in a May 11 general election.

Meanwhile, according to Pakistani media, two ministers from the caretaker government in charge of water and power, have said nothing can be done to end the power cuts.