LAHORE - The value-added textile industry has welcomed various policy initiatives and schemes of the government at domestic level in order to achieve sustainable growth, modernization and value addition, asking the authorities to also work for the soft image of the country to enhance exports.

Talking to the media here at PHMA office on Saturday, Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers Association chairman Adil Butt said that Pakistan government should direct the embassies and missions abroad to take up the issue of propaganda being launched against Pakistan textile industry which constitutes more than 60 percent of our total exports.

“Our foreign missions should make all-out efforts to enhance the country's exports and attract foreign investment. The Prime Minister should issue special directives to Ministry of Foreign Affairs and envoys posted abroad to rise to the occasion and promote soft image of Pakistan abroad through proactive economic diplomacy.”

Rejecting the human rights watch report, he said that there is no violation of labour laws in Pakistan garment industry, as we have no child labour, besides women workers are encouraged in garment industry. Even we have several units which constitute over 80 percent women workers.

Adil Butt said that it is crystal clear that the GSP Plus scheme is conditional upon Pakistan to ensure ratification and compliance of twenty seven International Conventions on human and labour rights, governance, and environment; including eight core Labour Standards of International Labour Organization. The scheme was extended after investigation of the state of labour market governance with reference to the core ILO Conventions and related labour laws regime in Pakistan.

PHMA senior vice chairman Kashif Zia said that the continuity of the GSP plus benefits hinges on the effective compliance of the ratified ILO Conventions. Current labour market governance in Pakistan garment industry fully meets the terms stipulated by the core labour standards. He said that the provincial and national governments have undertaken necessary legislations to remove discrepancies with the ratified ILO Conventions.

The PHMA on behalf of garment industry rejects the allegations of human rights watch and said that foreign companies would have stopped sourcing from factories if they were not meeting labour standards.

He said that our members cater to some of the top brands in the world and are compliant with both labour and environmental regulations of the country and those followed internationally. He said there was no evidence of widespread malpractice.

Our factories regularly follow labour laws, meet global standards, having no child labour and zero discrimination against women, who make up 30 per cent of the workers.

He said that European Union (EU) Mission last year visited Islamabad from October 22-29 to monitor implementation of Generalized System of Presences plus (GSP plus) conditions, due to which Pakistan's exports to 28 countries bloc increased by 47 per cent since 2014. On January 19, 2018, European Commission released a report (2016-17) on Pakistan's compliance with 27 UN conventions where Pakistan garment industry shown its compliance for extension of GSP+ status.