Last updated in October 2017
Germany is keen to see stable and democratic development in Pakistan and for the country to play a constructive role in the region.
To mitigate the effects of the flood disaster in Pakistan in late summer 2014, the German Government provided a total of more than 6 million euros in assistance. In 2015 and 2016, the total amount of the federal budgetary allocations for humanitarian aid projects in Pakistan exceeded 11 million euros. The relief measures are implemented by German non-governmental organisations and international organisations such as the United Nations Refugee Agency and the World Food Programme.
In the 2016 calendar year, Germany’s bilateral trade with Pakistan stood at 2.6 billion euros. German exports to Pakistan were worth 1.1 billion euros and German imports from Pakistan 1.5 billion euros. Pakistan’s main exports to Germany are textiles, leather goods, sports goods, footwear and medical instruments. Pakistan’s main imports from Germany are machinery, chemical products, electrical goods, motor vehicles and iron goods.
The number of German companies operating in Pakistan has increased in recent years. German businesses are showing growing interest in the Pakistan market, especially the energy and infrastructure sectors. 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’s stated aim is to acquire the status of a bilateral chamber of commerce in the medium term. At present, it 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 to promote bilateral economic relations. The visit to Germany by the then Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in November 2014 provided an additional impetus to cooperation. There are regular two-way visits by business delegations. In 2016, for example, the trip to Berlin and Munich by a delegation headed by the Sindh Board of Investment (SBI) and the visit to Islamabad and Lahore by a German business delegation headed by State Secretary of the Federal Foreign Office, Stephan Steinlein, boosted public interest. The number of Pakistan companies participating in industrial trade fairs in Germany is constantly 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 and financial 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 1961. Since then, the German Government has funded projects worth more than 2.5 billion euros. 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)
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 to the observance of sustainability standards. In addition, Germany is providing assistance to both Afghan refugees in Pakistan and internally displaced Pakistanis who were forced to leave their homes temporarily as a result of the Pakistan 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) and in the country’s most populous province Punjab, in eastern Pakistan. Individual measures are also being implemented in Balochistan, Sindh, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).
Cooperation with Pakistan includes a host of projects that are co-financed with other donors, mainly EU institutions, France and Switzerland. The pooling of financial resources by a number of countries makes it possible to implement larger and more comprehensive measures, thus increasing their effectiveness. 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), the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) 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 project activities in Pakistan. These include measures in the areas of human rights, the rule of law, civil society and the media, for example, a project 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 Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW).
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. 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. In the 2015/2016 winter semester, there were a total of 4167 Pakistan students in Germany, 659 of whom (including doctoral students and researchers) received DAAD funding.
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 5317 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-Institut.
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. 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 main projects in recent years include the restoration of the Lahore Fort frescoes and a historical mosque complex in Gulabpur, Baltistan. 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. Since 2017, a project has been underway to restore part of the Lahore Fort frescoes – also in cooperation with the AKF. This project is scheduled to continue through 2018.
The main institution promoting bilateral cultural relations is the Goethe-Institut in Karachi. In the building housing the Goethe-Institut, 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.
There has long been close cooperation in training between German broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) and the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PBC). Deutsche Welle has its own office in Islamabad.
Activities of German political foundations
The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, the Heinrich Böll Foundation, the Hanns Seidel Foundation and the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung have all seconded staff to Pakistan and run their own offices there, and in some cases have done so 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.
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.