The ongoing gas and electricity crisis in Pakistan has worsened as winter looms in the northern part of the country - with textile plants operating on gas now remaining closed for three-and-a-half days per week in Punjab province, while in Sindh province the industry will see a gas cut every Sunday.

In addition, electricity supply companies have also announced 4-6 hour daily power cuts for the textile industry due to annual maintenance work at the country's hydro-electric power stations.

Dr Asim Hussain, federal minister for petroleum and natural resources, said the Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) will get additional gas supplies from the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) in the next three to four months. This will help reduce power cuts for industrial consumers in Karachi, he said.

However, Mohsin Aziz, chairman of the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA), points out that about 40% of textile capacity is idle due to gas shortages - translating into falling exports and job losses.

The government is being urged to draw up a plan to provide gas and electricity to industrial consumers in the peak seasons to meet global shipment deadlines and avoid cancellation of export orders.