Two biggest fabric markets in Pakistan- Azam cloth market in Lahore and Lucknow market in Karachi- depend on polyester fabrics, saris, lenghas and dupattas imported from Surat. Many shops in these markets have signboards that say they sell saris and dress material imported from Surat.
Southern Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (SGCCI) textile committee chairman Devkishan Manghani said, “A delegation from Surat had visited Azam and Lucknow markets in Karachi and Lahore last year. Majority of traders import cheap saris, lenghas and other fabrics from Surat and sell them after value addition. Small traders there will be finished if our exporters don’t supply raw material to them.”
Even foreign companies dealing with textile companies in Surat have taken a tough stand against Pakistan after the terror attack in Pulwama. Laxmipati Group managing director Sanjay Saraogi told TOI, “Our company uses fibre manufactured by American company. This American company supplies the fabric manufactured by us to Pakistan and they had a sales office there. We told our American counterparts to stop the fabric supply to Pakistan or else we will not use their fibre after Pulwama attack. The American company shut down its Pakistan sales office two days ago.”
Lucky Gondalia, owner of Gondalia Textile Exports, said, “After the dastardly attack on our soldiers in Pulwama, we have severed business links with Pakistani traders. Earlier, we used to export saris, dress material, lenghas, bemberges and bleech fabrics to the tune of over Rs4 crore per annum to them.”
Srikant Mundra, owner of Sudarshan Textile Private Limited, said, “We can’t sell dresses to women of Pakistan many of whose husbands, brothers and relatives are killing our soldiers and civilians. Two days ago, we winded up our Karachi office. Earlier, we were supplying more than Rs10 crore worth of textile fabrics to Lahore and Karachi.”
Before 2014, the MMF exports from Surat to Pakistan stood at Rs2,400 crore. The exports of MMF fabrics from Surat to Pakistan was predicted to touch Rs3,000 crore by 2018. However, latest figures of Synthetic and Rayon Textile Export Promotion Council (SRTEPC) suggest that exports between Surat and Pakistan have fallen sharply in the last couple of years and that they were less than Rs1,000 crore per annum now.
SRTEPC data says exports of MMF fabrics in 2016-17 stood at Rs887 crore and Rs958 crore in 2017-18. Exports of MMF fabrics in 2018-19 (till December 2018) have witnessed a sharp fall at Rs624 crore against Rs720 crore during the same period in the previous year.
SRTEPC chairman Narain Aggarwal said, “Textile trade between Pakistan and India, Surat in particular has come to an end after Pulwama terror attack. India’s textile sector stands firmly behind our martyred soldiers. We believe no Indian textile businessman should deal with Pakistan.”