Textile exporters threaten civil disobedience

Say govt must act to ensure gas and electricity supply to Faisalabad.

Shamsul Islam December 26, 2012
If demands still not met, all industrial units will be shut down, and millers will stop paying all government taxes and dues. PHOTO: AFP

FAISALABAD: Textile exporters have threatened widespread closure of industry in Faisalabad in case the government fails to address the gas and electricity supply issue by Friday.

Addressing a large press conference here on Wednesday, Pakistan Textile Forum Chairman Asghar Ali said that the government’s non-serious attitude was at the root of the problems affecting the country’s textile industry, which has an annual export turnover of $14 billion and employs millions of workers.

While announcing a schedule for future protests, Ali said that the Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) has given time to the government till December 28 to resolve the issue, failing which the PTEA will take to the streets on the morning of the 29th.

A large protest demonstration will be held at Khurarianwala, and protesters will rally across the city on December 31. If demands are still not met, all industrial units will be shut down, and millers will stop paying all government taxes and dues.

Khurarianwala Industrial Estate Association Chairman Khurram Mukhtar said that the severe shortage of gas and electricity will push the textile exports towards complete disaster.

He predicted that the wide-scale closure of industry will push the jobless onto the streets, creating a worsening law and order situation. If the situation persists, the fallout will spread to over 450 industrial units and affect more than 2.5 million workers, he claimed.

He urged the government to take concrete measures, and added that a textile mill can function viably only if it remains operational around the clock, throughout the year.

Expressing a willingness to go to any extent, Hosiery Manufacturers Association Vice Chairman Syed Zia Alamdar said they would shut down the entire industry if the government did not comply.

“This industry forms the backbone of the country, but if the government is in no need of it, we are ready to shut it down,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 27th, 2012.

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