All 600 textile processing units in Faisalabad, Karachi, Lahore and Gujranwala recently shut down protesting against the 17 per cent sales tax on five zero-rated sectors and the government’s failure to get the trade sector registered with the tax net. The unit owners say they may lay off workers within a few days if their demands continued to be ignored.

The 600 mills include 240 in Faisalabad and around 225 in Karachi, All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Chairman Habib Gujjar told. The All Pakistan Textile Sizing Association (APTSA) also announced it will shut down 100 member mills in Faisalabad, Jhang, Toba Tek Singh and Hafizabad starting July 4.

APTSA Chief Ansari said in Faisalabad that the fluctuating rate of the US dollar is badly hitting the industrial sector as they import chemicals and components. The government had also attached the prices of gas and electricity with dollar, he added. The associations feel the situation would ultimately render thousands of workers jobless.