The long-standing bilateral relations between Switzerland and Pakistan are good. A range of economic agreements has aided the development of bilateral trade.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Pakistan
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
Between Switzerland and Pakistan there are numerous bilateral agreements in fields as wide-ranging as investment protection, debt consolidation, aviation, double taxation and disaster relief. Switzerland engages in regular political dialogue with Pakistan. The eighth round of talks were held in November 2014 in Bern.
Switzerland has traditionally run a trade surplus with Pakistan and has been one of the country's biggest direct investors for many years. Many Swiss companies operate in Pakistan, some with their own production sites. These firms are mainly based in Karachi and employ around 12,000 people.
In 2014 Swiss exports to Pakistan fell by 1.5% to just under CHF 274 million according to the current provisional figures. Imports, however, rose by 10.5% to approximately CHF 108 million.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
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 contributing to peaceful coexistence and the equitable distribution and sustainable management of natural resources for all sections of the population. Main focus areas are rural development, local governance in connection with water, the protection of human rights and humanitarian commitments. Switzerland is active mainly in two provinces on the border with Afghanistan in the north-west of the country.
Swiss nationals in Pakistan
At the end of 2014, 336 Swiss nationals were living in Pakistan.
History of bilateral relations
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.
Switzerland recognised the independence of Pakistan when it was proclaimed in 1947. Diplomatic relations were established 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.