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Bilateral relations between Switzerland and Pakistan

The development of bilateral trade has been aided by various economic agreements. Development cooperation has also played an important role.

Key aspects of diplomatic relations

Bilateral relations are good although not well developed. There is an Embassy and a Cooperation Office in Islamabad, and a Consulate General in Karachi.

Economic cooperation

Switzerland is one of the main foreign direct investors in Pakistan. Swiss companies are for the most part active in Karachi.

Cooperation in the field of education

Scholars and artists from Pakistan can apply for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships to the State Secretariat for Education Research and Innovation (SERI).

Development cooperation and humanitarian aid

Switzerland is concerned mainly with poverty reduction and providing support to particularly disadvantaged segments of the population while promoting conflict resolution and governance at the local level. Swiss Humanitarian Aid runs a programme for victims of the flooding that occurred in the Summer of 2010, the severest natural disaster in Pakistan’s history. The Confederation provided emergency relief and also organised aid to cover the Winter period. Support is also being provided for the rebuilding of schools and water infrastructure as well the improvement of living conditions for refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs).

Pakistan ceased being a Swiss priority country in 2011, development cooperation projects being either delegated to local partners, terminated or integrated in the Hindu Kush regional programme.

Swiss resident in Pakistan

In 2012 there were 327 Swiss citizens living in Pakistan, of which 212 had dual nationality.

History of bilateral relations

Switzerland recognised the independence of Pakistan when it was proclaimed in 1947. Diplomatic relations were begun in 1949. In 1966 the two countries signed a technical cooperation agreement, supplemented in 1975 by an agreement on disaster relief. After Pakistan had been designated a priority country for development cooperation, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) opened a Cooperation Office in Islamabad, in 1977. During the conflict over Bangladesh between India and Pakistan (1971–76) Switzerland represented the interests of both sides. In the 1970s and 1980s the Confederation concluded various rescheduling agreements with Pakistan.