Switzerland and Pakistan have good, long-standing relations. The two countries have signed a range of economic agreements that have helped to develop bilateral trade.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Pakistan
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
There are numerous bilateral agreements between Switzerland and Pakistan covering a range of areas including investment protection, debt consolidation, aviation, double taxation and disaster relief. Switzerland also engages in regular political dialogue with Pakistan. The tenth round of talks were held in February 2018 in Bern.
In 2018, Swiss exports to Pakistan amounted to CHF 373.3 million and consisted mainly of machinery, chemical and pharmaceutical products, and watches. Imports from Pakistan – mainly textiles and agricultural products – amounted to CHF 147.4 million. Switzerland is the fifth largest foreign direct investor in Pakistan, with USD 88.1 million for the fiscal year commencing 1 July 2017 and ending 30 June 2018. There are 21 Swiss companies in Pakistan employing 15,000 people.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Researchers and artists from Pakistan can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships.
Development cooperation and humanitarian aid
Swiss development cooperation activities in Pakistan aim to promote peaceful coexistence and ensure 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. Swiss activities are concentrated in two north-western provinces bordering Afghanistan.
Switzerland will wind down its development cooperation activities in Pakistan by 2020.
Swiss nationals in Pakistan
According to statistics on the Swiss abroad, 347 Swiss nationals (including 293 dual nationals) were living in Pakistan at the end of 2018.
History of bilateral relations
Switzerland recognised Pakistan's independence in 1947. In 1949, the two countries established diplomatic relations. During the Bangladesh conflict (1971–76), Switzerland represented Pakistan's interests in India and vice versa.
The Swiss embassy in Pakistan has been located in Islamabad since 1968. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) opened a cooperation office in Islamabad in 1977 when Pakistan was upgraded to a priority country for Swiss development cooperation.
In 1966, Switzerland and Pakistan signed a technical cooperation agreement which was supplemented in 1975 by an agreement on disaster relief.