Islamabad, Pakistan — It's a feature of Pakistani urban life that bemuses many Western visitors to the country: Stores and malls stay open late, and typically stay busy well into the evening.
Need a hand-woven carpet at 9:30 p.m.? Not a problem. A bespoke three-piece suit at 10? The local tailor is still whirring away on his sewing machine. Some spicy samosa snacks and a cooling kulfi ice cream after midnight? The shop next door is, of course, still cranking them out.
But it seems this late-night consumer culture may soon become a thing of the past, as the desperately cash-strapped Pakistani government has ordered all malls and markets to close by the unheard of early hour of 8:30 p.m.