Canada, Pakistan cement links
Canada and Pakistan have traditionally enjoyed good bilateral relations based on a historical history of development ties totalling nearly $ 2 billion since the 1950s, shared experience in the Commonwealth and the presence of the dynamic PakistaniCanadian community, approaching some 300,000. The growing community continues to make significant contributions to the prosperity and multi- cultural fabric of Canada.
Canada pursues a broad range of interests in the context of bilateral relations with Pakistan, including development cooperation; people- to- people links; regional security and defence; governance and human rights and trade and investment.
Canada supports programs that help strengthen democratic institutions integral to a prosperous future for the country. People- topeople links between Pakistan and Canada remain strong. Pakistan is among Canada’s top ten sources of immigrants, with more than 6214 permanent resident visas issued in 2009. Nearly 12,000 temporary resident and student visas were also issued the same year.
By 2009, Canada- Pakistan bilateral trade had reached $ 651.1 million with Canadian exports to Pakistan at $ 408.6 million. In Pakistan, Canadian companies find opportunities in infrastructure, information and communication technologies, mining, energy, agri-food and wood sectors.
The most important initiatives have been through the Canadian International Development Agency ( CIDA), whose efforts are focused on health services, education and training, community development and support for NGOS and communitybased organizations. Through local civil society organizations, CIDA is engaged in capacity building for social services delivery, participatory development and advocacy of the human and democratic rights of marginalized groups in Pakistani society.
Moreover, the Government of Canada allocated about $ 79.8 million in response to the 2010 floods in Pakistan. Of this, $ 71.8 million was provided by CIDA for humanitarian assistance and early recovery and $ 8 million by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Individual Canadians donated $ 46.8 million to registered Canadian charities in support of flood relief, which was matched by the Government of Canada. Canada was also a significant donor following the October 2005 earthquake in Pakistan, including deployment of the Disaster Assistance Response Team ( DART). Canada committed approximately $ 130 million for earthquake relief and reconstruction efforts.
With respect to the environment, Canada has helped strengthen Pakistan’s capacity to develop and implement an internationallyacclaimed National Conservation Strategy and related programs at the federal, provincial and local levels.
In response to the evolving socio- political situation in Pakistan, Canada is introducing more systematic programs for the promotion of governance, human rights and democratic development, based on CIDA’S current programs and partnerships. Many of CIDA’S former NGO partners have been appointed to key government positions and organization is well positioned to engage with them as well as the civil society. Proposed reforms include devolution of power and elections at the local level; improved governance through public sector reform; the upholding of human rights with focus on women, children and minorities; and commitment to economic recovery and poverty reduction.
The top 10 industries for Pakistani exporters to Canada are curtain and linen mills, men’s and boys’ cut and slew clothing manufacturing, hosiery and sock mills, broad-woven fabric mills, women’s and girls’ cut and slew manufacturing, carpet and rug mills, clothing accessories and other clothing manufacturing, flour milling and malt manufacturing and sporting and athletic goods manufacturing.
The top ten industries of interest for Canadian exporters to oilseeds (excluding soybean), iron and steel mills and ferro-alloy manufacturing, dry pea and bean farming, pump and compressor manufacturing, coal mining, navigational, measuring, medical and control instruments manufacturing, recyclable metal wholesalers-distributors, radio and television broadcasting, wireless communications equipment manufacturing and other industrial machinery manufacturing.