FAISALABAD/KARACHI All the textile mills remained closed throughout the country on Tuesday in the wake of a strike call given by Value-Added Textile Forum against the yarn and cotton crisis and power loadshedding. Value-Added Textile Forum sources told TheNation that complete strike was observed in Faisalabad as well as in the country by the textile sector while some 10,000 textile mills were totally closed in Faisalabad including 400 stitching, 300 dying, 450 printing, 1,000 hosiery and 350 sizing units. Rallies were organised in all the four districts of Faisalabad division including Jhang, Chiniot, Toba Tek Singh and Faisalabad districts. Protest were also reported from other major cities including Karachi, Gujranwala, Sialkot and Multan. Most of the rallies were led by the factory owners. Thousands of textile workers took part in the rallies. The protesters carried banners and placards inscribed with slogans: 'Save the Textile Industry, Save the Country and Clamp Complete ban on export of cotton and yarn. The activists also chanted slogans against Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and President Asif Zardari. The workers warned the government of dire consequences, asserting they would not allow anyone to play with the livelihood of the labourers. Thousands of workers and owners of value-added textile sector took out protest processions from various places and blocked the city roads. The main protest procession was taken out from Khurrianwala Industrial Estate, which was led by Chairman Pakistan Textile Exporters Association Khurram Mukhtar and Vice Chairman Sohail Pasha and other leaders of Value-Added Textile Forum. The rally demanded total ban on export of yarn with a view to saving the industry from collapse and the workers jobs. Later, the demonstrators burnt tyres on the roads and blocked the road. Thereafter, all the rallies joining together marched towards district council square near Clock Tower Faisalabad. Strong demonstration and protest sit-in was held at Clock Tower, which was addressed by leaders of trade associations including Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA), Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers Association (PHMA), All Pakistan Textile Processing Mills Association (APTPMA), Tajir Mazdoor Industry Etihad (TMIE), Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers & Exporters Association (PRGMEA), All Pakistan Bed Sheet & Upholstery Manufacturers Association (APBUMA), Pakistan Apparel Forum (PAF), Towel Manufacturers Association (TMA), All Pakistan Power Looms Association (APPLA) Multan, All Pakistan Sizing Industry Association (APSIA), Pakistan Denim Manufacturers & Exporters Association (PDMEA), Pakistan Knitwear & Sweater Exporters Association (PAKSEA), Pakistan Cloth Merchants Association (PCMA), Pakistan Cotton Fashion Apparels Manufacturers & Exporters Association (PCFA) and Council of Loom Owners (CLO). Addressing the protest rally, industrialist Wahid Khaliq Ramay, Mirza Shafique, Khurram Mukhtar, Sohail Pasha, Mian Naeem Ur Rehman, Rana Mushtaq and others demanded that the value-added was on the brink of disaster and the manufacturing units were collapsing due to non-availability of cotton material which was the basic and essential raw material for industry. They said it is unpatriotic to strangle the home industry and render millions of workers jobless by exporting the basic and essential raw material. They declared that situation has come to such a stage that the industrialists are unable to run their mills and are struggling for survival. They warned that our protest had been launched and now all the responsibility will be laid upon the federal government. In Karachi, addressing a Press conference at Press Club along with the representatives of the different value-added textile associations including PAF, TMA, CLOA, PTEA, PCMA, APSIA, APTMA, PAKSEA and others, textile stakeholder Jawed Bilwani said that spinning sector is using different tactics with the name of free market mechanism for export and caused huge losses. He said the countrywide strike which was observed in Faisalabad, Multan and Karachi will continue if the government fails to take any measures as over 1.8 million people, including 35 per cent women, are directly attached, he added. He lashed out that around fifteen meetings with government were held but all in vain. He said that around 200 units in Karachi have been dismantled and over 300 units are being shifted to other countries including Sri Lanka, Jordan, Egypt and Bangladesh. He said that around 18 per cent exports of VATS was decline during the last nine months that damaged the target of the export of Rs25 billion. We are unable to get yarn despite we have given cash in advance payment to the suppliers, he further added. Contrary to this, spinners have their own point of view as they said that it is against the spirit of a free market economy to regulate any segment of the private sector. In Sialkot, Pakistan Hosiery Manufactures Association (PHMA) demanded a complete ban on export of yarn so that raw material could remain available to value-added textile industry. Later, talking to the newsmen at Sialkot, Dr Khurram Anwar Khawaja said that the prices of yarn have more than doubled over the last 10 months and the local industry, which is main consumer of yarn has been facing severe difficulties. A number of industrial units have been closed due to non-availability of raw material, whereas yarn is being exported from Pakistan to those countries, which are giving us hard time in the international market. Dr Khurram said that the countrywide strike would be launched to save the crippling textile sector. In Gujranwala, All Pakistan Processing Mills Association Gujranwalas Regional Vice-Chairman Sheikh Muhammad Saeed has demanded of the government to impose a ban on thread export and defer imposition of VAT which according to him will cause collapse of power loom industry in the country. In a statement issued here on Tuesday, Sheikh Saeed expressed deep concern over soaring prices of yarn during last eight months which had already increased 60 percent only due to exports. He urged the government to encourage finish goods of yarn instead of yarn to gain maximum foreign reserve. Now proposed decision of imposition of value added tax will leave the power loom industry in the lurch and will render hundreds of labourers working jobless. Ha warned that if a ban was not imposed on thread export, the agitation of textile sector would worsen the prevailing conditions. He termed a federal ministers statement about closure of only five factories ridiculous and urged the government to take decision keeping in view the ground realities.