THE All-Pakistan Textile Processing Mills Association has directed its members to continue the strike they had engaged in, to protest the increases of 31 percent in the price of gas and 16 percent in that of electricity, which the Association said had priced them out of world markets. The Association has also directed its members to hold extraordinary general meetings of their regions at Faisalabad, Lahore, Karachi and Gujranwala in this connection. Immediately, the strike should give pause to the government which has raised both the tariffs. The textile sector has always been the driving force behind exports, and such a rise in the cost of production was bound to reduce its competitive edge. If textiles do not run on Wapda-supplied electricity, they are supplied by captive power plants, which run on gas. So if the government sees fit to raise the prices of all sources of energy, it should expect the normally calm and peaceable textile sector to get all riled up. It is not right to claim that other countries are facing the same problems. It would have been much better for the government to have studied how other, competing, governments have handled the situation. The way they had kept their textile industries competitive despite the rise in cost should have been studied and imitated. That is the path it should have been following, not slapping across-the-board increases on everyone. The textile exporters may be important because they earn the largest single portion of the nation's foreign exchange, but theirs should not be viewed merely as a foreign exchange crisis. This is merely the illustration of how what is apparently just a fuel crisis is reaching out into almost every aspect of human life. One of the boons that nature has given Pakistan is its textile industry. One of the consequences of having such a vigorous exporter has been having a whole lot of cheap and good-quality cloth in the local market. The government should realize that its steps have jeopardized that. The Prime Minister, who has called a meeting of stakeholders, most likely today, must look into their grievances and redress them to ensure that the textile industry starts functioning again and remains competitive.