Canada - Pakistan Relations
Canada and Pakistan established diplomatic relations in 1947 shortly after Pakistan’s independence. Pakistan is represented in Canada by a High Commission in Ottawa and Consulates General in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. In addition to the High Commission in Islamabad, Canada maintains a Consulate and Trade Office in Karachi and a Consulate in Lahore.
Canada pursues a broad range of interests in its bilateral relations with Pakistan. Major points of mutual interest include people-to-people links, governance and democracy, human rights, climate change, development cooperation, regional security and defence, transnational crime, and trade and investment.
Both countries also participate actively on the international stage as members of the United Nations, including through the Conference of Parties for the Framework Convention on Climate Change. Both have a long history of significant contributions to peacekeeping. Canada and Pakistan are also members of the Commonwealth, the Heart of Asia Istanbul Process related to security in Afghanistan and the wider region, and the Malta Process related to international child abductions.
Canada believes that democracy is integral to a peaceful and prosperous future for Pakistanis and to this end supports programs that help strengthen Pakistan’s democratic institutions. This includes the full participation of women in the democratic process.
More broadly, Canada encourages all countries to promote and protect human rights and appreciates ongoing and open dialogue with Pakistan on human rights, including the rights of women and of religious minorities, in a spirit of mutual respect.
To address the global challenge of climate change, Canada ratified the Paris Agreement in October 2016. Congratulations to Pakistan and all others that have also ratified the Agreement. Canada supports international efforts to help developing countries build resilience against the adverse effects of climate change and achieve sustained emissions reductions.
Canada works bilaterally and multilaterally to address the global threat of terrorism, ensuring that Canadian interests and values are reflected internationally and enhancing the security of Canadians both at home and abroad. The Government of Canada condemns terrorist violence in Pakistan, which continues to claim the lives of innocent women, men and children, and recognizes Pakistan’s significant efforts to combat terrorism. Canada encourages Pakistan to continue its efforts to address its security challenges, in accordance with the rule of law and respect for human rights.
People-to-people links between Pakistan and Canada remain strong. Pakistan is among Canada’s top ten sources of immigrants, with more than 12,000 permanent resident visas issued in 2015. Over 15,000 temporary resident, student, and work visas were also issued that same year. In the 2011 National Household Survey, about 155,000 Canadians indicated that they have Pakistani roots. Some estimate the Pakistani community to be even larger, and it continues to make significant contributions to the prosperity and multicultural fabric of Canada.
As of 2015, Pakistan is Canada's 41st largest export destination for services and 34th largest export destination for merchandise trade. In that same year, Canada-Pakistan bilateral trade reached $1.044 billion with Canadian exports to Pakistan at $693 million and imports at $351 million. Opportunities for Canadian companies exist in infrastructure, information and communication technologies, mining, energy, oil and gas, and the agri-food and wood sectors.
Pakistan and Canada share over 60 years of development cooperation. The priorities for the bilateral development program are based on Pakistan’s development priorities and Canada’s comparative advantage. Global Affairs Canada is focused on women’s economic empowerment, advancing democracy, polio eradication, and education (teacher training). Additional project funding in Pakistan has come from the International Development Research Centre. The Canada Fund for Local Initiatives provides direct funding assistance for small projects to local non-governmental organizations and, in exceptional cases, international NGOs and government institutions.
Canada has historically been a strong humanitarian partner in Pakistan, contributing almost $47 million since 2013, including $10 million in 2016. This assistance has targeted the most urgent life-saving needs, including assistance to internally displaced people and improving health and living conditions of conflict-affected people. Canada is currently the 7th largest single-country donor for humanitarian assistance in Pakistan.
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