Last updated in March 2014
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.
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-GermanyStrategicDialogue, the first talks at state secretary level being held in Berlin on 17 December 2012. Federal Foreign Minister Westerwelle was in Islamabad on 8 June 2013, this being the first visit by a high-ranking foreign politician to be hosted by Nawaz Sharif after he was elected Pakistani 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 flood disasters that struck the whole of Pakistan in summer 2010 and Punjab and Sindh Provinces the following years, the Federal Government made available EUR 43.6 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 2013, a total of some EUR 5.3 million was earmarked in the federal budget to fund humanitarian aid measures in Pakistan.
In 2013, Germany’s bilateral trade with Pakistan stood at approximately EUR 2.1 billion, a slight increase over the previous year, at EUR 2 billion. Whereas in previously years Pakistan had invariably recorded a slight surplus in trade with Germany, German exports to Pakistan amounted to USD 1.144 billion and German imports from Pakistan USD 989 million. 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, motor vehicles and iron goods.
The number of German companies operating in Pakistan increased between 2010 and 2012 and now remains stable. German 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 visit to Berlin and Munich by a Pakistani business delegation headed by the Chief Minister of Punjab Province, Shahbaz Sharif, in late October 2013 has given further momentum to cooperation.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 the annual 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 Province 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 benefit from 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 has enabled a total of EUR 166 million to be invested in education, health care and disaster prevention up to 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).
In 2013, Germany made available EUR 112.5 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. These include measures to promote human rights, the rule of law and civil society. The regional focuses of these activities are the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan Provincesand the Federally Administered Tribal Areas(FATA). In addition, support is being provided to strengthen the police and public prosecution services in Punjab and Sindh Provinces. The measures are being implemented in cooperation with local organisations as well as the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the KfW Development Bank.
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 engineering and natural sciences as well as social sciences). The DAAD opened an Information Centre in Islamabad in September 2009. 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 4,000 students learning German at these schools. Under the initiative, in recent years students from several PASCH schools were invited to attend international summer camps in Germany organised by the Goethe Institute.
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 main institution promoting 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.