100,000 Afghan carpet-weavers work in Pakistan
LAHORE (Pajhwok): Afghan businessmen and carpet-weavers in Pakistan say hand-knotted rugs produced by Afghan refugees are exported to foreign countries as Pakistan-made.
A Pajhwok Afghan News reporter discussed problems that forced Afghan carpet weavers to move to Peshawar and other areas of Pakistan from their home country.
Haji Khidar, a resident of northern Jawzjan province and member of the Afghan Carpet Union (ACU) in Peshawar, said he had been associated with the carpet industry for the past 30 years and had a shop in Khyber bazaar.
He claimed as many as 100,000 Afghan carpet-weavers worked in Peshawar, Attock, Nowshera, Swabi and Lahore.
A majority of these Afghans are Uzbek, Turkmen and Hazar and weaving carpets is their main source of income.
Khidar said carpets weaved by Afghans were being exported to foreign countries with made in Pakistan labels.
He said it was the Afghan government’s lack of attention that Pakistan was earning the principal income from carpet exports weaved by Afghans living in Pakistan.
He said the export of Afghan made carpets as Pakistan-made brands was badly affecting the industry in Afghanistan.
Haji Khidar blamed the Afghan government for not supporting the carpet industry in Afghanistan.
He asked the Kabul administration to take immediate steps for the revival of carpet-weaving industry in the country so that Afghans could avoid the need to weave carpets in Pakistan.
Abdul Karim, another Afghan shopkeeper in Khyber Bazaar, said it was Afghans who worked hard weaving carpets, but Pakistan earned the most exporting them.
He said Afghans worked until the process of weaving carpets was finished and Pakistan stamped its export label on the rugs.
Ihsanullah, another carpet seller in Islamabad, said: “Even today people prefer buying carpets weaved by Afghans.
Other traders said the bulk of carpets produced in Afghanistan were taken to Pakistan to be finished.
They said besides the lack of cutting and washing facilities, the Afghan tax system was an additional disincentive to selling finished carpets.
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