Pakistan's largest gas supplier, Sui Northern Gas Pipe Lines Limited (SNGPL), is to cut gas supplies to the textile and clothing industry for 20 days starting from 29 August.

Unveiling the gas load management plan, SNGPL managing director Arif Hameed said the gas fields will remain closed from until 17 September for annual maintenance work, resulting in a 30% drop in gas supplies during the period.

The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) claims all textile plants in the northern part of the country will be forced to close during the period of the gas cut, leading to the lay-off of 1m  workers and an immediate loss of US$1.3bn in textile exports.

APTMA chairman Gohar Ejaz adds that the suspension plan is contrary to a decision by authorities that gas supplies would be suspended for just two days a week. 

The gas cuts will affect textile plants in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtokhaw and Azad Kashmir, where over 75% of Pakistan's textile industry is located. Around 80% of these firms runs on self-generated electricity from gas-based power systems.