Germany and Pakistan have had close and diverse relations for many years. Germany is represented in Pakistan by an embassy in the capital city of Islamabad and a consulate general in the country’s business hub Karachi.
Germany is keen to see stable and democratic development in Pakistan and for the country to play a constructive role in the region.
In 2017, Germany’s bilateral trade with Pakistan amounted to 2.87 billion euros. German exports to Pakistan were worth 1.2 billion euros and German imports from Pakistan 1.67 billion euros. Pakistan exports mainly textiles, leather goods, sports goods, footwear and medical instruments to Germany, while it imports mainly machinery, chemical and electrical goods, motor vehicles and iron goods from Germany.
The number of German companies operating in Pakistan has increased in recent years. German businesses are showing growing interest in the energy and infrastructure sectors in particular. In 2016, German and Pakistan companies with an interest in bilateral economic relations joined forces to establish the German Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GPCCI). It has its headquarters in Karachi and branch offices in Lahore and Islamabad. The GPCCI is a corporation under Pakistan law and operates under the umbrella of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry. In 2014, an organisation called GATE Pakistan was formed in Germany to promote bilateral economic relations. There are regular visits by business delegations. The number of Pakistan companies participating in industrial trade fairs in Germany is steadily growing.
The following bilateral agreements are in place between Pakistan and Germany:
- air transport agreement
- double taxation agreement
- investment protection and promotion agreement
- framework agreement on technical cooperation (as amended by the annual agreements on financial and technical cooperation)
- agreement on cooperation in scientific research and technological development
German-Pakistan development cooperation began in the 1950s. Since then, the German Government has pledged approximately 3.5 billion euros in project support, of which approximately 3.1 billion euros has already been disbursed. As agreed with the Pakistan Government, bilateral cooperation focuses on the following priority areas:
- energy (especially renewables and energy efficiency)
- good governance (especially tax revenue generation and decentralisation)
- sustainable economic development (especially vocational training)
Germany also continues to provide extensive support in the health sector, helping to fund vaccination programmes, blood transfusion centres and municipal health stations.
With its technical and financial cooperation measures, Germany is supporting the Pakistan Government’s key reform projects, such as strengthening federalism and co-determination and improving production conditions in Pakistan’s business sector (from energy supply to a well-trained workforce and the observance of sustainability standards). In addition, Germany is providing assistance for refugees in Pakistan.
The geographical focus of German development cooperation with Pakistan is in the north and west of the country (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, including the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas, FATA) and in the country’s most populous province Punjab, in eastern Pakistan. There are also projects in Balochistan, Sindh, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).
Cooperation with Pakistan includes a host of projects that Germany co-finances with other donors, mainly the EU, Norway and Switzerland. Together with the Pakistan Government, Germany is also engaged in a variety of multilateral funding instruments such as the World Bank’s Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) and a support programme for Afghan refugees and their host communities through the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
The Federal Foreign Office is also funding projects in Pakistan, specifically in the areas of human rights, the rule of law, civil society and the media. The measures are being implemented in cooperation with local, international and German organisations.
Culture and education
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 (AvH) on the German side, and the Higher Education Commission (HEC) on the Pakistan side. In addition, there are exchanges between specific departments of several German and Pakistan 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, and also has a lector working at the capital’s Quaid-i-Azam University.
Germany is one of the most popular destinations for young Pakistan researchers wishing to pursue a PhD, along with the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. Approximately 4100 young people from Pakistan are currently studying in Germany and 676 Pakistan students and researchers received DAAD funding in 2017.
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. Seven private schools in the country – two each in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad and one in Peshawar – are currently partners in the PASCH initiative. Some 5900 pupils are learning German at the PASCH schools, out of a total of 9000 German learners at Pakistan schools.
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 and Humanities.
Cultural preservation projects
For a number of years, the Federal Foreign Office has been funding cultural preservation projects in Pakistan. 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 (AKF). The two projects received the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Award for Cultural Heritage Conservation in 2010 and 2014, respectively. In 2017, Germany provided funding for a project aimed at restoring part of the Lahore Fort frescoes – also in cooperation with the AKF.
In 2015 and 2016, the German Consulate General in Karachi provided 85,000 euros from the Cultural Preservation Programme of the Federal Foreign Office for a project to preserve the historically and architecturally significant tomb of Mirza Jan Baba in Makli. Germany has therefore made a major contribution to preserving the famous necropolis of Makli as a world cultural heritage site.
The main institution promoting bilateral cultural relations is the Goethe-Institut in Karachi. In the building where the Goethe-Institut is housed, which is from the Bauhaus era and classified as an historical monument, numerous cultural events are held in addition to the language courses. Another institution active in cultural cooperation is the Goethe-Institut-affiliated Annemarie Schimmel House in Lahore, which also offers language courses and a cultural programme.
German broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) and the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) have long cooperated closely in the field of training. In 2018, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development provided additional funding to intensify this cooperation and support training measures.
Activities of German political foundations
The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, the Hanns Seidel Foundation and the Heinrich Böll Foundation all have a presence in Pakistan, and some have been active there for decades. They support projects in areas including the strengthening of democratic institutions, human rights and the advancement of women, climate change, deradicalisation, regional cooperation and the media. The administrative requirements imposed on the political foundations’ activities in Pakistan currently pose a central challenge within bilateral relations.
This text is intended as a source of basic information. It is regularly updated. No liability can be accepted for the accuracy or completeness of its contents.