Last updated in October 2013
Germany and Pakistan have traditionally enjoyed good and amicable relations. Germany is keen to see stable and democratic development in Pakistan and for the country to play a constructive role in the region. Along with India, Pakistan is one of Germany’s most important partners in South Asia. The Federal Government is encouraging Pakistan and India to press on with the rapprochement between their two countries.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Gilani visited Germany from 30 November to 2 December 2009, meeting with Federal Chancellor Merkel, among others. The two heads of government agreed to step up cooperation between the two countries, particularly in the economic and cultural sectors. Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Dirk Niebel visited Pakistan from 3 to 5 June 2010, and again from 16 to 19 June 2011, on the latter occasion accompanied by the EU Commissioner for Development Piebalgs. Federal Defence Minister Thomas de Maizière visited Pakistan on 13 and 14 March 2012 and again on 6 and 7 March 2013. During the visit to Berlin by Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar on 3 and 4 September 2011, Khar and Federal Foreign Minister Westerwelle signed the Roadmapfor the Pakistan-GermanyStrategic Dialogue, the first talksat state secretary level being held in Berlin on 17 December 2012. Following his earlier visits to Pakistan on 8 and 9 January and from 17 to 19 November 2011, Federal Foreign Minister Westerwelle was in Islamabad on 8 June 2013. This was the first visit by a high-ranking foreign politician to be hosted by Nawaz Sharif after being elected Prime Minister.
In late 2009, a Pakistani-German Parliamentary Friendship Group was formed in Pakistan’s parliament. This group has already paid several visits to Germany. German parliamentarians regularly travel to Pakistan for political talks.
In response to the two flood disasters that struck the whole of Pakistan in summer 2010 and Sindh Province in summer 2011, the Federal Government has made available EUR 41.6 million in humanitarian emergency relief. The relief measures were implemented by German non-governmental organisations and international organisations such as the United Nations Refugee Agency and the World Food Programme. In 2010, more than EUR 200 million in private donations was collected in Germany for the flood victims in Pakistan. In 2012, a total of some EUR 7.5 million was made available from federal budget funding for humanitarian aid measures in Pakistan.
Germany’s bilateral trade with Pakistan remained stable in 2012, compared with the previous year, at EUR 2 billion. Between mid-2012 and mid-2013, Pakistan again recorded a slight surplus in trade with Germany, German exports to Pakistan amounting to USD 958 million and German imports from Pakistan USD 1.038 billion. Pakistan’s principal exports to Germany are textiles, leather goods, medical instruments, Basmati rice and jewellery. Pakistan’s main imports from Germany are chemical products, machinery, electrical goods, vehicles and iron goods.
The number of German companies operating in Pakistan has been on the rise again since 2010. Interest in the Pakistani market is growing, especially in the energy and infrastructure sectors. German and Pakistani companies with an interest in bilateral economic relations have joined forces to create the Pakistan German Business Forum (PGBF), which is domiciled in Karachi and has also had a branch office in Lahore since August 2013. The constantly increasing number of PGBF members testifies to the growing interest in economic exchange shown by companies in both countries.
The number of Pakistani companies participating in industrial fairs in Germany has grown continuously in recent years.
The new investment promotion and protection agreement that was signed in Berlin on 1 December 2009 during Pakistani Prime Minister Gilani’s visit will enter into force once it has been approved by the European Commission and the instruments of ratification have been exchanged.
The following bilateral agreements are in place between Pakistan and Germany:
- air transport agreement
- double taxation accord
- framework agreement on Technical and Financial Cooperation (as amended by individual accords on Financial and Technical Cooperation)
- agreement on cooperation in scientific research and technological development
German-Pakistani development cooperation began in 1961. Since then, the Federal Government has funded projects worth a total of EUR 2.5 billion. As agreed with the Pakistani government, bilateral cooperation focuses on the following priority areas:
- health care
- basic education and vocational training
- energy (with a focus on renewables and energy efficiency)
German Technical and Financial Cooperation thus supports the new Pakistani government’s key reform projects, such as the Fiscal Pact and the National Energy Policy, as well as implementation of Pakistan’s obligations to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In addition, Germany provides assistance for both Afghan refugees in Pakistan and internally displaced Pakistanis who were forced to leave their homes temporarily as a result of the Pakistani army’s military offensives against the insurgency.
The geographical focus of German development cooperation with Pakistan is in the north and west of the country (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, FATA), with individual measures also being implemented in Baluchistan, Punjab, Gilgit Baltistan and AJK (Azad Jammu and Kashmir).
Pakistan is one of the first of Germany’s partner countries to make use of innovative development funding instruments. Under the so-called debt conversion scheme, the Pakistani government is rewarded for making public investments in contractually agreed development programmes by debt cancellation worth twice the amount invested. This will enable a total of EUR 166 million to be invested in education, health care and disaster prevention by the end of 2013. Together with the Pakistani government, Germany is also engaged in a variety of multilateral funding instruments such as the World Bank’s Multi-Donor Trust Fund and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM).
For 2013 and 2014, Germany has so far made available EUR 102.5 million from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development’s budget for development cooperation with Pakistan.
The Federal Foreign Office is also funding project activities in Pakistan, including measures to improve the drinking water supply in Baluchistan and Gilgit Baltistan as well as projects in the judicial sector (legal advice services in Punjab) and to strengthen federalism and stabilise the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
Well-established and effective academic and scientific exchange has for many years featured prominently in cultural relations between Germany and Pakistan.
Scholarship programmes, Germany as a study destination, academic cooperation
The main institutions active in this field are the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation on the German side, and the Higher Education Commission (HEC) on the Pakistani side. In addition, there are exchanges between specific departments of several German and Pakistani universities (with a focus on chemistry, ethnology and cultural geography and the languages and cultures of South Asia). In September 2009, the DAAD opened an Information Centre in Islamabad.
Germany is one of the most popular destinations for young Pakistani researchers wishing to pursue a PhD, alongside the United States, the United Kingdom and France.
In 2013, there were a total of some 2,000 Pakistani students in Germany.
As part of the Federal Foreign Office’s global Schools – Partners for the Future initiative (PASCH), German language instruction has been gradually introduced at several secondary schools in Pakistan. There are seven PASCH schools in Pakistan – in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Peshawar – and a total of some 2,000 students learning German at these schools. Under the initiative, pupils from several PASCH schools were invited to attend international summer camps in Germany organised by the Goethe Institute in recent years.
German archaeologists have been active in Pakistan for decades. Since 1979, for example, the project Rock Carvings and Inscriptions along the Karakorum Highway has been conducted with the support of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences. German researchers regularly travel to Gilgit Baltistan as part of this project.
Cultural preservation projects
For a number of years, the Federal Foreign Office has been funding cultural preservation projects in Pakistan. The principal projects in recent years include the restoration of a historical mosque complex in Gulabpur, Baltistan. This project won the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Award in autumn 2010. In 2010 and 2011, the Federal Foreign Office provided funding to renovate and restore traditional residential buildings in Lahore’s historical Old City in cooperation with the Aga Khan Foundation.
The prime mover in bilateral cultural relations is the Goethe Institute in Karachi. In the building housing the Goethe Institute, which is from the Bauhaus era and classified as an historical monument, numerous cultural events are held in addition to the language courses. Other institutions active in cultural cooperation are the Goethe Institute-affiliated Annemarie Schimmel House in Lahore, which also offers language courses and a cultural programme, and the Pakistan German Friendship Association Islamabad (PGFA).
There has long been close cooperation in training between German broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) and the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PBC).
Activities of German political foundations
The Friedrich Ebert Foundation, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, the Hanns Seidel Foundation, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and the Heinrich Böll Foundation have all seconded staff to Pakistan and run their own offices there. They support projects in areas including the strengthening of democratic institutions, human rights and the advancement of women, social legislation, deradicalisation, regional cooperation and the media.