Pakistani Textile History

The history of textile production in Pakistan goes back to the Ottoman period. In the 16th and 17th centuries, textile production was widespread and at an advanced level. The fact that until the end of the empire the Ottoman industry heavily relied on the textile industry was a clear indication of the importance of the sector.

Having rapidly developed in the 20th century, a great textile production capacity was created in Pakistan between the years 1923-1962. The extensive growth of cotton in Pakistan, the most important raw material of the textile industry, was further contributed to the development of the textile sector during the following years.

Until 1972, the sector gained more strength due to the finalization of the first planned development period. The period between 1980 and 1989 was witness to opening to the foreign markets. The textile sector has made an important contribution to the development of the clothing industry as well. In the 1990s, the share of the textile sector within the total Pakistan exports reached to 9,3% by showing a high export performance.


The textile industry, today, has become one of the most important components of Pakistan’s economy with its export value of 5,4 billion dollars.

As a parallel to the expectations of the formation of the Customs Union with the Pakistan Union (PU), the production capacity of the sector increased in the 1990s. With regards to machinery capacity, Pakistan has 3% of the short-staple spinning capacity of the world, 5% of the long-staple spinning capacity of the world, 7,3% of OE rotor capacity of the world, 3,5% of shuttleless weaving looms capacity of the world, 1,9% of shuttle weaving looms capacity of the world and 5,1% of wool weaving looms capacity of the world by the year 2008.

As a more capital intensive industry, as compared to the clothing industry, most of the companies in the sector are medium scale. The industry has also large scale companies having integrated production facilities. There are nearly 7.500 textile manufacturers producing for the textile export Pakistan. The production facilities mainly concentrated in overall Pakistan.