Foreign Minister Heiko Maas travelled to Pakistan on Tuesday (12 March). The country plays a decisive role when it comes to reducing tension in Afghanistan and the entire region. Upon taking up office last year, the Government in Islamabad underscored that it wanted to improve relations with neighbouring countries. Pakistan plays a key role, particularly with regard to the peace process in Afghanistan.
Improving relations with neighbours
In the capital Islamabad, Foreign Minister Maas had talks with Prime Minister Khan and Foreign Minister Qureshi. The Minister also spoke with socially engaged Pakistanis and visited a hospital for Afghan refugees.
The most recent tensions between Pakistan and India demonstrate that the goal of rapprochement in the region is not an easy one. The situation between the two nuclear powers reached a climax recently following a terrorist attack claiming more than 40 lives in the Indian-administered part of Kashmir. The two countries bear a major responsibility to avoid an escalation and resolve disputes peacefully through dialogue. Germany believes combating cross‑border terrorism is a key factor here.
Germany supports reform
With more than 200 million inhabitants, Pakistan is the world’s sixth most populous country. The population continues to grow rapidly. Almost two‑thirds of Pakistanis are under 30. That is why Germany has a strong interest in the country’s democratic and stable development. It is also why the German Government is supporting the ambitious reform efforts of the new Pakistan Government. These reforms focus on improving education and healthcare as well as boosting the economy and fighting corruption.