Though there has been a cut in gas supply to the textile industry of three and a half days a week, their export target has been kept at $4 billion for the last three months of the current financial year, 2010-11, reflecting a touching but counterfactual faith that the textile industry can somehow produce without fuel. The result was inevitable, that exports of $2.5 billion may be lost, as the Chairman APTMA expected only $1.5 billion to be exported against the target. This supply for three and a half days was introduced despite a presidential order to the gas company to maintain supplies for full five days a week. At a time when the country is facing unprecedented pressure on its foreign exchange position, and badly needs the export proceeds that the textile sector would have brought forth, the gas suspension is not placing just an industry in jeopardy, but the entire country. The textile industry would be forced to take up the issue with the President, while it should be concerting measures to increase even further exports by an industry which has always been the backbone of our exports. The industry should not solely be seen as a source of exports, but also as a generator of employment. Unfortunately, if it continues to be starved of the basic fuel through which it survives, the many who have already been thrown out of work will be joined by even larger numbers, as textile plant owners are forced to close down. This will run against the desire to maintain social peace and prevent people from getting involved in extremism. Unemployment has also seen one of the causes fuelling the current turmoil in the Middle East, and if Pakistan is to avoid a replication, it must not add to the growing army of the unemployed by businesses going under. Another notion of which the government needs to be disabused is that exports, and export orders, are somehow like water, which can be turned on and off by a tap. If exporters are driven away now by textile units, because of a failure to deliver on time or by their own refusal because of a belief they cannot meet the order on time, those placing the order will turn to the other manufacturers, and stick with them. The government must realize it has a responsibility to ensure that the textile industry has the gas it needs. Without ensuring this, it has no right to keep on placing ever larger targets on an industry that is willing, but cannot make something out of nothing.