The All Pakistan Value Added Textile Association has announced closing down factories and setting up a strike camp at Chowk Ghanta Ghar from Thursday for not imposing an immediate ban on the export of cotton and cotton yarn. The announcement was made at a joint press conference held by the All Pakistan Value Added Textile Association at the Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PHMA) on Saturday. Addressing the press conference, PHMA (North Zone) Chairman Mian Farrukh Iqbal, Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry Senior Vice President Chaudhry Talat Mehmood, former President Rana Sikandar Azam, Chaudhry Salamat Ali, former Central Chairman Syed Zia Alimdar Hussain, Arif Ehsan Malik of All Pakistan Bed Sheets and Upholstery Manufacturers Association, Haji Shakeel Ansari of Sizing Association, Chaudhry Muhammad Nawaz of All Pakistan Cotton Power Looms Association, Waheed Khaliq Rame, Ejaz Khokhar of Pakistan Readymade Garments, Rana Abdul Ghafoor, Kashif Zia, Shahid Ahmed Sheikh, Haji Muhammad Saleem, Syed Nahid Abbas, Rana Altaf Ahmed, Qamar Aftab, Mian Asif Iqbal and Shaheen Tabassum of the Embroidery Association said that some constituencies have linked imports from India to Kashmir. Trying to give the impression that exporters are not patriots. He vehemently denied the allegation and said that he was with the government on the Kashmir issue but the government should have fully covered all aspects before allowing imports from India in the Economic Coordination Committee meeting. He said that industrialists and exporters have to take their workers with them for which ample supply of raw materials in the country is essential. He added that value-added is the only sector that has the potential to create 10 million new jobs and earn valuable foreign exchange as per government policies. He said that despite the severe shortage of yarn at home, yarn worth $132 million was exported in February and if this trend was not stopped, exports would fall further after which the factories would start closing down. He said that in view of the urgent importance of this issue, the government would have to impose a complete ban on the export of cotton yarn by next Tuesday and Wednesday as further delay in this regard would be catastrophic for the country’s economy. Chaudhry Salamat Ali, former central chairman of the Hosiery Association, said that the export of yarn should be stopped immediately to ensure its availability in the country. He said that with the decision of the Economic Coordination Committee to allow import through Wagah, the prices of yarn had started declining but as soon as this decision was withdrawn, the price of cotton yarn increased by Rs 10,000. He said that duty-free yarn should be imported to the industrialists this year as per the quantity of yarn imported last year while this facility should also be given to the commercial importers so that the shortage of yarn in the country could be overcome. Ejaz Khokhar of Pakistan Readymade Garments said that the value-added sector earns ten dollars by adding value to one dollar yarn. He said that it was the only way for the country to earn foreign exchange and create new employment opportunities. Therefore, the government will have to impose a complete ban on cotton and yarn until the new cotton crop arrives. Muhammad Ahmed, chairman of the Pakistan Textile Exporters Association, and Waheed Khaliq Ramey of the Power Looms Owners Association said that yarn worth $120 to 150 million a month has been exported for the past four months while local industries are shutting down due to a shortage of raw materials. He also expressed concern over betting along with government decisions and said that the FBR and other agencies had failed to curb betting. Similarly, other speakers also supported the decision to ban the export of yarn and said that they were ready to make any sacrifice to protect the interests of the value-added sector in this regard. In the end, a joint declaration was also passed in this regard while Mian Farrukh Iqbal announced that the next protest program at the Chowk Ghanta Ghar strike camp on Thursday and the strategy for marching towards Islamabad would be announced.