Am­bas­sador of Switzer­land to Pak­istan

The Diplomatic Insight - - Interview - 14

Switzer­land bor­ders in the north to Ger­many, in the east, Aus­tria and the prin­ci­pal­ity of Liecht­en­stein, in the South, Italy and in the West, France. Switzer­land is in­deed a place where three dis­tinct cul­tures meet and blend, each re­gion with own lan­guage: Ger­man, French and Ital­ian. “The Heart of Europe” as Swiss loves to de­scribe their coun­try, is ac­tu­ally one of the world's smaller coun­tries in case of area. The coun­try has also been called as “land of­moun­tains” as no other coun­try in Europe has as­many that surpass 4,000 me­ter and the world's most fa­mous moun­tain, the “Mat­ter­horn” is also in Switzer­land. The coun­try is a con­fed­er­a­tion of four dif­fer­ent lan­guages and cul­tural re­gions. What binds them are shared val­ues and goals, most im­por­tant be­ing se­cu­rity. With Bern as its cap­i­tal, the coun­try has the pri­or­i­ties of peace, the de­fence of hu­man rights and the alle­vi­a­tion of poverty. The coun­try has breath­tak­ing land­scapes and also an ideal des­ti­na­tion for busi­ness trav­el­ers. To high­light the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Pak­istan and Switzer­land, TheDi­plo­matic Insight ar­ranged an ex­clu­sive in­ter­ac­tive ses­sion with Am­bas­sador of Switzer­land to Pak­istan, H.E. Mr. Christoph Bubb.

Fol­low­ing are the ex­cerpts of in­ter­view. How­wouldy­outermre­la­tion­shipss­ince­thetime­ofin­cep­tionof diplo­mati­cre­la­tions­be­tweenPak­istanandSwitzer­land? Pak­istan and Switzer­land en­joy ex­cel­lent bi­lat­eral re­la­tions based on­mu­tual trust and good­will. The first diplo­matic mis­sion of Switzer­land was opened in Pak­istan in 1949. Pak­istan has an Em­bassy in Bern, whereas Switzer­land has an Em­bassy in Is­lam­abad, a Con­sulate Gen­eral in Karachi and an Hon­orary Con­sulate in La­hore. I am con­fi­dent that the multi-faceted co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two coun­tries would con­tinue to grow in the days ahead. Whatarethe­var­i­ousini­tia­tivesthathave­been­taken­over­the years to im­prove the bi­lat­eral re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries? Both coun­tries share over six decade of friend­ship and have closely co­op­er­ated in sev­eral fields. In 1966 they signed a tech­ni­cal co­op­er­a­tion agree­ment, which was sup­ple­mented in 1975 by an agree­ment on dis­as­ter aid. A num­ber of eco­nomic agree­ments have fa­cil­i­tated busi­ness ac­tiv­ity such as Con­ven­tion for the avoid­ance of dou­ble tax­a­tion signed on 07.03.2007 and Agree­ment on the pro­mo­tion and re­cip­ro­cal pro­tec­tion of in­vest­ments signed on 06.05.1996. When Pak­istan was de­clared a pr ior ity coun­try for de­vel­op­ment co­op­er­a­tion, the Swiss Agency for De­vel­op­ment and Co­op­er­a­tion, one of the wings of the Fed­eral De­part­ment of For­eign Af­fairs of Switzer­land opened a co­or­di­na­tion of­fice in Is­lam­abad in 1977 and has been in the fore­front since then. The Swiss De­vel­op­ment Co­op­er­a­tion (SDC) has in­vested over time more than 700 mil­lion USD in Pak­istan through its de­vel­op­ment pro­grams. Be­sides direct pro­grams on the ground, SDC is also sup­port­ing mul­ti­lat­eral or­ga­ni­za­tions such as ICRC, WFP, and UN-Habi­tat with funds and ex­pert staff. It is note­wor­thy that Swiss cit­i­zens do­nated over 50 mil­lion USD through Swiss NGO's to flood vic­tims in Pak­istan. The Swiss Gov­ern­ment was also quick in pro­vid­ing re­lief ser­vices dur­ing the dev­as­tat­ing flood in 2010 and pro­vided 10 he­li­copters to Na­tional Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment Au­thor­ity for con­duct­ing ef­fec­tive re­lief op­er­a­tion in af­fected ar­eas. What kind of eco­nomic and com­mer­cial­col­lab­o­ra­tio­nand co­op­er­a­tion Switzer­land in cur­rently look­ing for/from Pak­istan? Ans: Ac­cord­ing to the lat­est Global Com­pet­i­tive­ness Re­port pub­lished by the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum, Switzer­land ranks 1st among 142 coun­tries. Switzer­land is among the lead­ing for­eign in­vestors in

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