Pakistan's government is to restore gas supplies to the textile industry in the province of Punjab after a one-month hiatus.

According to a notification issued by the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL), from the beginning of this week gas will be supplied to the textile industry for two days a week on a rotation basis.

Authorities disconnected the gas supply to the region's textile industry just before Christmas, resulting in widespread protests and rallies by factory owners and workers. The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) later vowed to defy the government's gas cut policy.

Gohar Ejaz, former chairman of APTMA, says that over 70% of the textile and clothing industry is located in Punjab province and over 10m people depend on it for work. The prolonged gas suspension has badly affected the sector's daily-wage workers, he adds.

APTMA's Punjab region chairman Ahsan Bashir claims the industry has already lost US$2bn in exports during the first half of the current fiscal year and it is likely to suffer more if energy supplies to the industry are not improved.

The government, meanwhile, says the industries will receive gas for three days a week once the cold weather in the northern part of the country ends next month.