The Lahore High Court (LHC) ordered on Wednesday the early closure of markets and restaurants in the city as smog continues to blanket the city.
Justice Shahid Karim of the LHC was hearing petitions filed by Haroon Farooq and others to remedy the worsening smog situation in the city.
During the hearing, apart from ordering the early closure of markets and restaurants, the court also ordered that schools should be closed on Fridays. Any schools that open on Fridays should be sealed, the court said.
In its order, the court asked the education department to strictly implement its decision.
As per the court order, markets and eateries have to close at 10pm from Monday to Thursday. The court gave relief of one hour on the closure of restaurants on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and said that on these three days restaurants can be closed at 11pm, while markets should not be closed at 10pm on Sunday.
The court said that implementation over these orders has to be monitored.
Justice Karim remarked during the hearing that the sky was much better this morning and that there has been some reduction in the smog.
The next hearing of the case will be held on December 19.
Air pollution has worsened in Pakistan in recent years, as a mixture of low-grade diesel fumes, smoke from seasonal crop burn off, and colder winter temperatures coalesce into stagnant clouds of smog.
Lahore, a bustling megacity of more than 11 million people in Punjab province near the border with India, consistently ranks among the worst cities in the world for air pollution.
In recent years residents have built their own air purifiers and taken out lawsuits against government officials in desperate bids to clean the air — but authorities have been slow to act, blaming the smog on India or claiming the figures are exaggerated.