In a press release issued by the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA), on Tuesday, APTMA Southern Zone, Chairman, Zahid Mazhar raised an alarming concern about the dire consequences of a severe shortage and disruption of gas supply on the textile industry in Sindh and Balochistan. The situation has forced 50% industries to shut down or operate at only half of their production capacity, dealing a heavy blow to the growth of manufacturing and textile exports.

Despite a 30% increase in gas tariffs imposed by the government in February 2023, the export-oriented textile industry in Sindh and Balochistan continues to grapple with an acute gas crisis. As a result, Mazhar claimed textile exports from July 2022 to April 2023 have plummeted by over 14% compared to the same period in the previous year.

The APTMA South chairman highlighted the unjust denial of rights guaranteed under Article 158 of the Constitution of Pakistan to the provinces of Sindh and Balochistan, which together produce 85% of the country’s natural gas.

He demanded that the gas produced in these provinces should be prioritised for local consumption before any surplus is supplied to other regions.

“The gas of both provinces is being supplied to Punjab which is against Article 158,” he lamented, adding that this violation not only exacerbates the gas shortage but also undermines the constitutional provisions.

The textile industry is not only grappling with the weekly two-day gas closures but also enduring consistently low gas pressure throughout the week.

These challenges have resulted in substantial production losses, de-industrialisation, and widespread unemployment, amplifying the economic crisis in the region.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 24th, 2023.

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