Karachi: The Canadian high Commissioner to Pakistan, Ms. Heather Cruden has highlighted her country’s cooperation and assistance to help Pakistan in various fields. She said, “Security and Corruption are the two major concerns of Canadian companies to invest in Pakistan thinking” while addressing Karachi Council on Foreign Relations. Ms. Cruden’s talk, on the topic of ‘Canada-Pakistan relations.
She said, “Canada has long-standing relations of over 60 years with Pakistan which are always defined by our development assistance to Pakistan”, she said. Canada has earlier provided aid to develop Pakistan’s hydro projects. Now our focus is on health, polio eradication, human rights and gender equality.
“Canada’s aid to Pakistan is consistent since past many years. Now its $50-60 million which is a significant amount”. “We have been working with NGOs to uplift the status of women and make them part of the workforce. We have to report our results in Parliament” she added. “Our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is a big supporter of climate change and we are encouraging Canadian companies to work on renewable energy in Pakistan”, she said.
Discussing the non-traditional security threats to Pakistan she mentioned climate change as Pakistan is the tenth most vulnerable country to climate change. In her opinion population explosion is a major threat to Pakistan and serious measures on child birth control need to be taken. Government is unable to provide basic services to people such as education, housing, food and health etc.
People don’t have many opportunities in Pakistan which would be worst with the population explosion. Comparing the population of Pakistan with Bangladesh – where Ms Cruden has also served as High Commissioner – she told the audience that in 1971 Bangladesh’s population was more than Pakistan but the situation is opposite now. Bangladesh has significantly controlled its birth rate unlike Pakistan.
Talking about the new government of Canada she said that our cabinet is the most representative abinet as it includes people of other nationalities and physically challenged people. “We have strong people-to- people contact and they are rich part of Canadian fabric. We pride ourselves in integrating immigrants. We have just accepted 30,000 Syrian refugees”, she said.
In his opening remarks, former Ambassador Shahid Amin, Chairman, Karachi Councill on Foreign Relations said “there are no bilateral problems between Canada and Pakistan”. He recalled that when Kashmir issue was brought in the United Nations, Canada supported the decision of plebiscite in Kashmir.
He mentioned that two years back Canadian Foreign Minister said that “Canada is concerned about human rights violation in Kashmir”. He told the audience that Canada is helping Pakistan in natural calamities and socio-economic sector which people of Pakistan appreciate. “Canada has also helped Pakistan to establish its first nuclear power plant KANUPP in Karachi and also Warsak dam”, he added.