Pakistan and Germany have enjoyed warm friendly relations since the establishment of their diplomatic ties in 1951. Pakistan was one of the first Asian countries to establish relations with the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany). These relations are based on shared values of democracy, pluralism, respect for human rights, cultural and religious diversity, and economic liberalism. Ever since their inception in 1951, Pakistan-Germany relations have been on an upward trajectory.
In January 2011, Germany and Pakistan agreed on initiating the Pak-Germany Strategic Dialogue on yearly basis to enhance defense, economy, education, energy, investment, and infrastructure. Four rounds of Strategic Dialogue have taken place with the last one in November 2018, in Islamabad.
Pakistan was one of the first countries with which Germany began development cooperation. The German-Pakistan development partnership was launched in 1961, the year the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) was founded. With trade investment exceeding € 2.3 billion. Germany is now Pakistan’s fourth-largest trade partner. Germany has provided a total of around 3 billion euros to Pakistan since 1961. That makes Germany the fourth largest bilateral donor. The following bilateral agreements are in place between Germany and the following bilateral agreements are in place between Germany and Pakistan:
- Air Transport Agreement
- Double Taxation Agreement
- Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement
- Framework Agreement on Technical and Financial Cooperation (as amended by the annual agreements on financial and technical cooperation)
- Agreement on Cooperation in Scientific Research and Technological Development
Germany is one of the most popular study destinations for young Pakistanis. Germany and Pakistan have 32 cooperation arrangements between German and Pakistan universities. Every year, hundreds of Pakistanis go to Germany and thus to the heart of Europe to study or to do their doctorate. In 2018 there are around 4100 Pakistani students and doctoral candidates living in Germany.
Germany is helping Pakistan to fundamentally reform its vocational training system in cooperation with the Netherlands, Norway, and the EU. German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ) has been commissioned by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to advise Pakistan’s National Vocational and Technical Training Commission and vocational training agencies at the provincial level on how vocational training can be better aligned with the needs of the labor market. More than 100 vocational careers advice and job centers have been established throughout the country. Uniform standards and material for examinations have been developed for nearly 60 vocational profiles in agriculture, energy, and services; 87,000 young people have completed a training program; 4,000 vocational training instructors have already been trained, with at least that many set to receive training in the near future.
There are approximately 124,000 Pakistanis living in Germany according to official estimates in 2019. They are working hard and contributing toward the socio-economic development of Germany, simultaneously earning handsome salaries to feed up-lift their standard of life and Pakistan. Pakistani workforce is famous for their hard work and loyalty and is welcomed by German companies. Pakistani students are known for research and innovation and are most favorite students of their German professors.
At the invitation of Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany, Annalena Baerbock, visited Pakistan on 7-8 June 2022 and held wide-ranging consultations.
During the delegation-level talks, the two sides had an extensive exchange of views on various aspects of bilateral relations with a special focus on enhancing cooperation in the fields of trade and investment, climate change, and renewable energy. The Foreign Minister hoped that bilateral relations would be strengthened further through regular high-level exchanges, which had acquired a steady momentum in recent years. The Foreign Minister appreciated German companies doing business in Pakistan and invited more companies to take advantage of Pakistan’s business-friendly policies.
In the regional context, the Foreign Minister stressed the need for the international community to come together to address the dire humanitarian situation in Afghanistan. The Foreign Minister added that the release of Afghan financial assets was important for helping stabilize the economy. He also said that Pakistan continued to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.
Foreign Minister Baerbock thanked Pakistan for its role in facilitating the evacuation of foreign nationals and others from Afghanistan. Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari assured the German side that Pakistan would support the evacuation request.
While discussing the situation in Ukraine, the Foreign Minister shared Pakistan’s concern over the continuation of military conflict. Reiterating Pakistan’s principled position, the Foreign Minister said Pakistan believed that a solution must be found through dialogue and diplomacy. He added that ramifications of this conflict were being felt far beyond the European Continent, as far as in Pakistan, due to rising fuel and food prices. The Foreign Minister added that in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, and despite our own economic challenges, Pakistan had sent relief goods and humanitarian aid to the affected Ukrainian people.
The Foreign Minister also drew attention to the serious human rights violations in IIOJK, the rising tide of Islamophobia across India also manifested in the recent repugnant remarks by two BJP officials towards the person of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), and the risks of posed by these developments to peace and stability.
Her visit was termed very much successful and fruitful. It has strengthened their understanding and harmony between the two nations. Pakistan is looking after German interests in this region, whereas, Germany is protecting Pakistan’s interests in Europe. It is expected that the cooperation and collaboration will be visibly advanced in the days to come. It is desired that bilateral relations will boom in all dimensions and will contribute toward regional and global stability and prosperity.