Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood held talks with the Canadian Deputy Foreign Minister, Marta Morgan during the Fourth round of Bilateral Political Consultations.

Islamabad, 8 November 2021 (TDI): Pakistan and Canada held their 4th round of Bilateral Political Consultations (BPC) on Sunday, 7 November in Islamabad.  Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood led the Pakistani side, while the Canadian delegation was led by Deputy Foreign Minister Marta Morgan. A wide range of bilateral matters, as well as regional and global issues of mutual interest, were discussed during the BPC.

Bilateral issues

Pakistan and Canada have maintained a long-standing, friendly, and cordial connection, FS said. He emphasised Pakistan’s commitment to building a more comprehensive and multifaceted relationship with Canada, with a particular focus on trade and investment. Pakistan, according to the Foreign Secretary, is firmly focused on geoeconomic principles and implementing policies that promote peace, development cooperation, and regional connectivity.

The Foreign Secretary informed his counterpart of Pakistan’s friendly investment and trade policies, and welcomed Canadian businesses to invest in Pakistan and reap the benefits of a huge consumer market and a thriving economy.

As the situation in COVID-19 improved, Sohail Mahmood emphasised the importance of resuming high-level exchanges between the two nations and fully realising the immense potential of bilateral cooperation. The Foreign Secretary emphasised the good impact of Pakistan’s huge diaspora in Canada, which serves as a solid link between the two countries. He insisted that people-to-people movement between the two nations be made easier, and he hoped that more Pakistani students would be allowed to come to Canada under the Student Direct Stream Program.

He stressed that, given the significant improvement in the security situation, Canada may change its Travel Advisory, allowing individuals to travel freely between the two nations and businesses to expand.

Regional issues

In a regional context, the Foreign Secretary presented Pakistan’s perspective on recent developments in Afghanistan, emphasising the need of the international community’s continuing and positive involvement with Afghanistan for long-term peace and stability. The Foreign Secretary highlighted Afghanistan’s serious humanitarian and economic issues, reiterating the necessity for quick action to alleviate the Afghan people’s suffering.

Another step in this direction would be the freeing of Afghanistan’s financial assets. He also cautioned about forces that could act as “spoilers”. The Foreign Secretary also discussed Pakistan’s position on Asia’s peace and stability concerns, such as the Jammu and Kashmir conflict.

The Deputy Foreign Minister of Canada stated that Pakistan has been a long-time friend of Canada and emphasised Canada’s commitment to develop a multifacated engagement with Pakistan that includes increasing people-to-people exchanges. She praised Pakistan’s role in efforts to restore peace and stability to Afghanistan, as well as its aid in evacuating Canadian nationals from the country.

The two sides reaffirmed their commitment to remain constructively and meaningfully engaged in order to strengthen bilateral relations between Pakistan and Canada.