Canada and Pakistan established diplomatic relations in 1947, shortly after Pakistan’s independence. Canada is represented in Pakistan by a high commission in Islamabad, a consulate and trade office in Karachi, and a consulate in Lahore. Pakistan is represented in Canada by a high commission in Ottawa and consulates general in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.
Canada pursues a broad range of interests in its bilateral relations with Pakistan, including people-to-people links, governance and democracy, human rights, climate change, development assistance, regional security and defence, transnational crime, and trade and investment.
Both countries also participate actively on the international stage as members of the United Nations. Both have a long history of significant contributions to peacekeeping. Canada and Pakistan are also members of the Commonwealth, the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process related to security in Afghanistan and the wider region, and the Malta Process related to international child abductions.
Canada believes that democracy is integral to a peaceful and prosperous future for Pakistanis and, to this end, supports programs that help strengthen Pakistan’s democratic institutions. This includes the full participation of women in the democratic process.
More broadly, Canada encourages all countries to promote and protect human rights. Canada appreciates ongoing and open dialogue with Pakistan on human rights, including the rights of women and of religious minorities, in a spirit of mutual respect.
Canada works bilaterally and multilaterally to address the global threat of terrorism. It strives to ensure that Canadian interests and values are reflected internationally and to enhance the security of Canadians both at home and abroad. The Government of Canada condemns terrorist violence in Pakistan, which continues to claim the lives of innocent women, men and children, and recognizes Pakistan’s significant efforts to combat terrorism. Canada encourages Pakistan to continue its efforts to address all of its security challenges, in accordance with the rule of law and respect for human rights.
People-to-people links between Pakistan and Canada remain strong. There are over 215,000 Canadians of Pakistani origin living in Canada. In 2019, Pakistan was Canada’s fifth-largest source of permanent residents.
In 2020, Pakistan was Canada's 36th-largest export destination for merchandise, with Canada-Pakistan bilateral trade reaching $1.11 billion. Of this, Canadian exports to Pakistan totalled $669 million and imports from Pakistan totalled $438 million. Opportunities for Canadian companies exist in education, information and communications technologies, cleantech, energy, oil and gas, and the agri-food and wood sectors.
Pakistan and Canada share over 60 years of development cooperation. The priorities for the bilateral international assistance program are based on Pakistan’s development priorities and Canada’s comparative advantage in line with its Feminist International Assistance Policy. Global Affairs Canada is focused on gender equality, women’s rights, women’s economic empowerment, women’s political participation, polio eradication, and education (teacher training). Canada’s development assistance to Pakistan also includes multilateral, partnership and humanitarian programming. Additionally, project funding in Pakistan has come from the International Development Research Centre. The Canada Fund for Local Initiatives provides direct funding assistance for small projects to local NGOs and, in exceptional cases, international NGOs and government institutions.
Partnerships and organizations
To develop effective responses to today’s most pressing global challenges, Canada and Pakistan work closely in multilateral fora, such as:
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