Daylight Savings Time Introduced in Pakistan

Posted on May 31, 2008
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Economy & Development
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Adil Najam

Pakistan Daylight Savings Time ChangeAs of the stroke of midnight Saturday-Sunday (May 31-June 1, 2008) Pakistan officially advanced its clocks by one hour. This “daylight savings” move is a bid to conserve energy in an increasingly energy strapped economy in conditions where everyone agrees that the energy situation is going to get worse well before it gets any better.

The change puts Pakistan six hours ahead of the GMT. This change will last for three months; June-August.

Dawn reports that:

the energy conservation package approved by the Federal Cabinet on May 14 also envisages that during the next three months (June-August), all shopping plazas will close business after 9 p.m. and switch over their weekly holidays from Sunday to Friday, while industries will similarly stagger their weekly offs; WAPDA will not supply power to billboards using lights besides management of street lights. Under Cabinet’s directive the use of air conditioners will be stopped from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. in Prime Minister House, Secretariat and other government offices, while one million energy saver bulbs will be purchased to promote culture of installing such bulbs across the country. The government has already set up a task force to control line losses.

The energy situation in Pakistan is precarious indeed. The economic loss that is being caused by it has to be immense. In all major cities, one seems to spend the entire day waiting for or recovering from the last load-shedding. Indeed, the economic working day in Pakistan is better described as the few hours of electricity in an otherwise electricity-less day, rather than by the hours of load-shedding within a “normal” flow of electricity.

The economic loss has to be measured not only by the economic value that is lost because of the lack of electricity, but also but the resources that are being diverted towards the expenditures necessitated by the new “load-shedding economy.” Those who can afford to, and many who can not, are being forced to spend obnoxious amounts of ineffective, uneconomical, noisy and polluting generators. Those who cannot, try out UPS solutions and the markets are flooded by over-priced and under-performing Chinese “rechargeable” lights and fans (some with built-in radios and other gimmicks). Most, however, have no options but to get used to the new status quo where people are already beginning to describe th day not by how many hours of load-shedding they have but by how many hours of electricity they get!

So, is “daylight savings” the answer? Or, at least, part of the answer?

Pakistan Daylight Savings Time ChangeThe history and reality of the idea of daylight savings is itself a fascinating one. The book, Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time by Michael Downing, is a most fascinating account of the history and efficacy of the idea and it is not clear just how useful – if at all – the concept has been in actually saving energy.

To look on the bright side, the decision shows that a certain seriousness has emerged in Pakistan to think seriously about conservation solutions. Everyone seems honestly interested in it. And, quite clearly, conservation has to be a key step. However, this along with the other steps in the new Energy Conservation Plan, even if appropriate, seem like an inadequate attempt to respond to a crisis that demands much more bold strategies.

A simple chronicle of just some of the many posts ATP has carried on the topic shows just how serious a crisis we are in and how much worse it is likely to become:

The Violence of Energy Insecurity
KESC, Karachi and Power Outages
Multiple Crises in Pakistan
Karachi Suffering the Heat
Bijli Bachao Mohem!
Andhair Nagri
Bijli Nama

34 Comments on “Daylight Savings Time Introduced in Pakistan”

  1. Aslam says:
    May 31st, 2008 6:33 pm

    are you sure this is true?

    And what is now new time difference between US East Coast and Pakistan?

  2. Daktar says:
    May 31st, 2008 7:16 pm

    The cynical response would be that nothing ever happens in Pakistan on time anyhow, so this will make no difference.

    But more seriously, I think it will be difficult to implement amongst ordinary Pakisatnis and only in large companies and government offices in urban centers will it make a difference and that will be overall very very small.

  3. Owais Mughal says:
    May 31st, 2008 8:23 pm

    Energy ka tou pataa nahiN..but I support the decision of advancing clocks for its social implications. It will hopefully make people start their daily business an hour early. The current trend in Pak has been that major markets in cities don’t open until 11 a.m. to noon. A decade ago they used to start business b/w 10-11 a.m. and may be earlier in previous generation. Eventhough time-wise the businesses will still open b/w 11 a.m. -noon but in day-light wise they may become ‘sehr-khez’ by an hour and may get an extra hour of day light in the evening to spend with the family.

  4. Shaji says:
    May 31st, 2008 10:35 pm

    As far as energy conservation goes, we do waste a lot. But that being said, I also want somebody to initiate an inquiry as to how in the world we got to a situation from no load shedding to no work in less than a year. I smell lots of stinking fish here.

  5. zakintosh says:
    May 31st, 2008 10:54 pm

    Daylight Savings Time is only of any use in high-latitude countries. Tropical and near-tropical areas benefit very little from it, if at all. In any case, the use of light-bulbs alone is not the contributor … in the heat of these 3 months fans, air-coolers, air-conditioners, all add to the increased demand for electricity.

    The confusion caused by this move for Airline TimeTables is hilarious. Last night at a literary event the most educated of people were wondering if the 4pm flight now takes off at the new 5pm or the old 3pm. Another wondered if this would have an effect on international connecting flights. An author of several books was unsure what time she has now to receive her sister at the airport tomorrrow (“So, will she arrive early or late?”, she asked :-D Now think of Train Times which are of more use to the poorer and less literate masses and the confusion that’ll cause if even our literati can’t figure this out.

    Several at the event said that a 3-month period was just not worth it, but one MPA pointed out that it was specifically chosen, after much deliberation, to coincide with school holidays.

  6. Rasheed says:
    June 1st, 2008 12:07 am

    It is a good idea if the Constitution of Pakistan is also amended to add the clause, “We shall do everything that is done in the United States of America.” Did our frequent guests like Richard Boucher and John Negroponte instruct our leaders to do so?

    Seriously, though, I don’t see how much energy it would save – the DST, I mean. An hour will be taken off from one end and added to the other.

    There are so many other ways that Pakistan can improve the energy situation rather than band-aid remedies.

    One is political: Given the low energy demand of Pakistan (less need for home heating oil, fewer cars, etc), enough cheap, if not free, petrofuel can be obtained from Iran, a neighbour. But that would require not angering Iran by sitting in the lap of its enemy and our Uncle, Sam of America. If we were to distance ourselves from the belligerent attitude toward Iran, I’m sure we could get some immediate help. (How much has the US helped us with respect to energy independence)

    Brazil has a lesser population and technological knowhow than Pakistan’s in general. But she is almost energy independent. What they use for their vehicles and machines is “alcool”, for “alcohol”. The crop of sugar cane (“ganna”) does well there as it does in Pakistan. Brazilians use microbial fermentation of cane sugar to generate lots of ethanol, which even the US has recently begun to employ as a supplement to their vehicular fuels. Pakistan may not have been blessed with land as fertile as the Amazon basin, but considering the benefits we can reap, even costly irrigation may be a sensible option.

    So instead of meetings with US envoys like Richard Armitage who reportedly threatened Prez. Musharraf after 9/11 that Pakistan should get ready to be “bombed into the stone age” (“with friends like these who needs enemies”), we should arrange a bilateral summit with President Lula da Silva of Brazil and his engineers. Short-term goals should be chalked out, to later turn into permanent cooperation toward independence.

    Similarly, given the hot temperatures of Pakistan, one can develop other biofuels – biodiesel and straight vegetable oil, like I do with my car :) In my case, I obtain used vegetable oil from restaurants after they’ve fried stuff in it and run my car off of it for free! It runs easily in warm temperatures but in the cold, the cooking oil has to be preheated with a countercurrent exchange system installed within the car – easy to make with a few everyday materials. The car runs better, with less or no smoke and with less engine noise. Besides, it’s earth friendly ‘coz it’s carbon-neutral or -negative, since it’s from recent photosynthesis by plants – soy, pea nut, corn, etc. Corn does very well in Pakistan. BTW, only combustion (diesel), not ignition, engines use this biofuel. The restaurant oil can also be used to heat homes in the winter – the only problem is some after-smell. It’s like slightly overdone pop corn, not like French Fries as you might have heard :)

    US Democratic presidential candidate Obama, the self-proclaimed candidate of “change”, is keen to develop cellulosic ethanol, which, when perfected, might solve the world’s energy crisis, at least for a while. But that is years, if not decades, away from practical use. Pakistani Universities could do well to begin research along that direction *now*, instead of waiting for the US to develop it first and then to start begging it from them. There are bacteria which degrade cellulose – the constituent of leaves, wood, etc. – into sugar, which can be fermented by yeast and bacteria into ethanol – clean fuel. Remember that WE are forbidden to drink it, I don’t think there’s any injunction about it regarding cars :)

    Former US Democatic presidential candidate and energy secretary Bill Richardson was reportedly working with some people, including a Pakistani, on alternative biofuels using very high oil-yielding plants. We can benefit from such new ideas for Pakistan.

    A partial solution to the food crises that follow energy shortages is for Pakistanis to grow their own vegetables to save a few rupees. There’s almost always a yard in pakistani rural homes. (Also, remember the earlier ATP post on wastefulness, as in weddings?) Sorry for the long post but please don’t delete – some could benefit from my two paisas :)

  7. Deeda-i-Beena says:
    June 1st, 2008 12:46 am

    Starting the day an hour earlier – in this sunny summer – when the shopkeepers start at 10 0r 11 AM, and extending their hours would certainly save some energy.

    However, the deed is cast in the form of an order. No one has explained to the people – neither the government nor the Media – as to whay this is being done and what are the advantages.
    Therefore, rumours run rampant and confusions prevail. The Muezzins in mosques are confused as to when to start their calls.
    What a communications disaster in this prevailing age of Print and TVs.

  8. Raza says:
    June 1st, 2008 1:20 am

    There’s bound to be a lot of confused people in the next few days – especially the poor who couldn’t care less tbh.

  9. Abrar Bhai says:
    June 1st, 2008 2:15 am

    I do notice a positive impact of daylight savings in North America so I think it is a great idea.

    However I am not sure what role is daylight savings going to play in cities like Karachi where most business dont start until 12 pm any way which is quite a nuisance.

  10. Shahid Sohail says:
    June 1st, 2008 4:27 am

    The daylight time adjustment was exercised a few years back as well and failed miserably. It could not attract the public acceptance at all. The people were confused and were always referring to the dual timings, saying,

  11. jusathot says:
    June 1st, 2008 9:20 am

    A new thinking is needed – a change in lifestyles and attitudes towards energy consumption along with a more efficient usage and to work out alternative source of energy – will contribute to a more sustainable pattern. And along these lines – daylight savings maybe a smaller part of the equation.

  12. June 1st, 2008 1:39 pm

    Farigh Pakistanis got another tafreeh in hand. Now they keep asking “Nai time k Mutabiq ya Puranay kay”?

  13. June 1st, 2008 1:45 pm

    Rasheed sb very informative comment. Thanks. Could be extended to an article.

  14. Rafay Kashmiri says:
    June 1st, 2008 3:21 pm

    @Adnan Bhai,

    ATP say ijazzat li thi, laikin, sahib-e-maholiat, umray pay
    chalay gaey,

    apki tafreeh wali baat kafi pur-mizah thi
    arz hay

    Hamnay, izzat rakh li hay apnay sardaron ki, warna,
    Wo to tulaiy thay baarah par, ham nay ghanta Barha dia

    Rafay Kashmiri

  15. jk says:
    June 1st, 2008 7:07 pm

    This is nothing but a distraction by the government. They are saying, “oh look people! we are doing something. Please get distracted long enough till we can think of the next distraction”.

    Daylight savings does not help since it simply moves energy costs else where. Plus, DST causes a sharp increase in car and other vehicular accidents.

  16. June 1st, 2008 8:18 pm

    A new, rather interesting, picture has been added to the top of this post. This Associated Press picture from Hyderabad, Sindh, shows a man using a bamboo pole to change the time on a clock tower.

  17. Khalid R Hasan says:
    June 2nd, 2008 2:51 am

    The original intent of daylight saving when it was started to be introduced in the first quarter of the 20th century was to use more daylight in higher latitude countries in summer. Saving in electricity comes about by less use of lighting. There is potentially less saving in lower latitude countries.

    Further, in warmer climes, considerable electricity is consumed during the daytime for cooling purposes – fans, airconditioners etc. An interesting recent study in a US state, where some counties implemented DST and others didn’t, showed that counties with DST actually consumed more electricity compared to those that didn’t. To some extent, that would apply to Pakistan too, though our use of ACs is proportionately a lot less .

    Also, most Pakistanis already live according to the natural cycle of the day, from Fajr to Isha prayers, so changing the clock will not significantly affect their waking hours.

    I don’t think this experiment, being tried for the second time, has really been thought through.

  18. Faraz says:
    June 2nd, 2008 3:15 am

    From the point of view of a software develper, it’s a terrible idea to change time with such a short notice. I have worked on these issues before and I feel sorry for any programmers out there scrambling to put together a solution. People may not realize how sensitive most software is to time/time zone issues and fixing them is not always trivial. As Khalid said below “I don

  19. June 2nd, 2008 4:17 am

    Actually we do not have good governance,so entire system mess.We see loadshedding in houses and business places and industries,but we are having high powered bulbs ,neon signs on streets and advertising boards.During day upto 11 or 12 pm, street lights not been put off.Kunda system is in full swing ,no one cares.Lacs of rupees are due from Govt.and non-govt institutions-organisations.what the recovery staff doing till now.So first thing is to correct the system.In our country running on adhoc basis.Problrm never solved at once,matters delayed/prolonged intentionally to keep politics alive,no care for county or the people.politicians are worst in comparision to Musarraf.

  20. S.A.A. says:
    June 2nd, 2008 12:38 pm

    I agree, this is a gimmick that is going to confuse people and produce no results. We need much more serious action. To start with some conservation should be regulated. For example, start issuing fines to offices that have ACs on before 11 or to shops, weddings, etc. that have excessive lights on or on for too late. You start slapping these fines and people will start changing their behavior.

  21. Aqil Sajjad says:
    June 2nd, 2008 7:38 pm

    How would changing the clock by an hour make much difference in a long summer day?

    In any case, as our past experience shows, moving the clock creates more confusion in Pakistan. It would probably be easier to move the office hours. That idea is less alien to us since some schools change their timings, plus we are also used to prayer timings changing with the size of the day.

    As for timings, it’s better to start offices at 6 am and finish at 1 pm. Air conditioning could then be avoided for most of the office hours.

  22. Eidee Man says:
    June 3rd, 2008 10:36 pm

    BTW, it’s Daylight Saving Time, NOT Daylight SavingS Time.

  23. Machli Khan says:
    June 4th, 2008 9:41 am

    I’m in Pakistan for a visit and I have to say this time change measure is laughable at the least. Most of the people in Pakistan are illiterate, they have no idea how this works. The funniest part is (after having experienced many daylight savings time changes in the U.S.) that over here people are actually adjusting their work and school hours, for e.g. now they are going to work one hour late or start classes late .. That totally beats the purpose, in my opinion. The purpose was to stay on schedule and use the extra hour of daylight, which in turn could have positive psychological effects as well as save a little (0.3% estimate for Pakistan due to this change) energy.

    Most of the people (the illiterate majority) will simply adjust their schedules and go about their business — this time change will not impact their lives. They’ll consider this a temporary anomaly.

    We’ve officially become the first South Asian nation to observe DST … which brings us another step closer to total slavery of our master, the United States of America. India and China don’t even divide their country into different time zones for the sake of national unity and identity and no, copy catting America is not a good thing for them (yet).

  24. Daktar says:
    June 4th, 2008 10:23 am

    I am sorry, Sir, this change has got nothing to do with “slavery of Masters” etc. Lets please not make everything an ideological rant. This is just about a govt desperate to do something and having no idea what to do. I think this DST is a silly and useless idea. But not for the reasons you mention.

    Getting a good idea from others is a sign of intelligence, I wish we actually got more good ideas from elsewhere including China, India and the USA. This is just not a good idea, that’s that.

  25. S.A.A. says:
    June 5th, 2008 5:36 pm

    I think this idea has now proved to be a total failure and no one in Pakistan really seems to be following it. Everyone is confused and talking in old as well as new times.

  26. Aamir Ali says:
    June 8th, 2008 11:04 am

    Faraz:
    As a fellow software developer, I found your concern intriguing. Isn’t the solution to daylight savings simply adjusting the system clock ? i.e. windows clock? everything else gets taken care of by that as every application gets the time from the operating system anyway.

  27. A A K says:
    June 11th, 2008 10:43 am

    Apart from the daylight saving theory, just think of a simple example which an ordinary man understands. A man (think who?) wanted to reduce the monthly bill of his food stuff. So he started thinking of different ideas. He could achieve it by taking the following measures.
    Instead of rich food he shall use normal and balance diet.
    Instead of eating 3/4times a day, he shall eat two times only.
    Instead of eating outside in KFC, McDonalds, he shall prepare food at home.
    So instead of taking the above hard measures which surely could work, the MAN decided to change his eating timings and started thinking that this way he will make considerable savings. So he started eating one hour later than his routine. Later he thought of another clever idea, he advanced his wrest watch by one hour.

  28. Noor Ali says:
    June 15th, 2008 7:44 am

    For Awarness to people to control the cost of Energy Bills, do we have a spread sheet, or some other things, at which calculation can be done.
    example a Ceiling Fan operated for 4 hours consumes electricity ????
    and so on for other things normally used at home.

    By the end of month a calculation can be compared with the units shown at electricity bill?

    People who pay their bills regularly would be interested in this sort of things.
    Noor Ali

  29. Ayaz K. says:
    July 30th, 2008 3:15 pm

    How about making a smart use of Solar Energy and other natural resources to produce fuel and energy?

    How about introducing those those auto-shut off appliances and electronics?

    Is it possible to import and install those motion sensitive light switches and faucets
    to conserve the power and water throughout the country?

    Gas Stoves instead of Electric ones and Energy Saver Light Bulbs should be used.

    How about TV channels take a break and also those Marriage Halls, Hotels and Restaurants
    participate in this save the energy drive?

    How about offering some incentives to attract/lure the people to show some enthusuiasm and start
    saving energy with a new spirit.

  30. Ayaz K. says:
    July 30th, 2008 3:19 pm

    Daylight Savings Time in Pakistan means an unemployed man can hang around a Paan or Lassi Shop for another extra hour

    .. and women get another full hour for gossips :)

  31. S. Nawaid Sabri says:
    July 31st, 2008 2:47 am

    I think it is a good sign that government has taken few steps to reduce electricity problems, instead to thinking negatively we should comply with the idea and try to contribute in it by starting and ending our day just an hour earlier.

    Here, important thing to encourage people to accept this change will be the projection of change of figures in power reserves and its effect on accumulated reduction in load-shedding in terms of number of hours on per day/per week basis and power supply to the consumer must be effected accordingly.

    Another thing which is very important and will definitely effect positively on consumer’s acceptability for this day-light saving system is that the power saved through this change must be divided equally in each and every populated areas which is currently suffering from low power reserves.

  32. Haroon says:
    October 31st, 2008 9:16 pm

    The clocks in Pakistan have finally been turned back.

    I think this did no benefit to anyone and was a waste of energy and TIME.

  33. S. Nawaid Sabri says:
    May 19th, 2009 3:33 pm

    So far we have not seen any progress and positive change towards effective control on electricity crises in Pakistan, the idea of day light saving is simply not working while being quite effective in many countries of the. Instead we are pushed to pay more on every unit we use as if THIS is THE solution of this power crises. Some people may not agree with me but the fact is that currently we are going through an era where no one cares about how the people who are suffering from this pain will survive? Old, Sick, weak and children are specially facing this unbearable phase with helplessness. Sincerity of the authorities is quite clear with the step of increasing the GAS price and creating slabs to discourage people for using GAS Power Generators which were being extensively used at common men level as self management against 12 to 14 hours load shedding. Even after all this we still hope that this period of distress will end and we will recollect our strength in power generation; the only thing which needs to be understood by the authorities is “success and desired results are always followed by sincere efforts”.

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