ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Canadian High Commissioner to Islamabad Heather Cruden said Canada and Pakistan were cooperating to eliminate the threat of terrorism which was claiming innocent lives across the globe.
“Canada condemns terrorists violence in Pakistan which continues to claim the lives of women, men and children and we are working bilaterally and multilaterally to address this global threat,” she told a reception at the embassy here while, condemning the terrorists attack at the Bacha Khan University which claimed 22 lives.
“We hope to strengthen our collaboration with Pakistan to prevent human trafficking and migrant smuggling, both heinous crimes,” as well, she said.
During her brief talk Cruden referred to different areas where two sides had the great potential to further cement their bilateral ties.
She urged Canadian firms to invest in attractive Pakistani I.T, power and energy sectors to further promote commercial relations between the two countries for their mutual benefit.
“Canada is keen to assist Pakistan in the commercial sector. We encourage Canadian technology and service firms to invest” in IT and Telecoms, power and the agriculture sectors which would benefit Pakistan’s economy.
Referring to bilateral trade between the two countries, she said that pulses and other products on the agriculture market made up more than 65 percent of the Canadian exports to Pakistan.
“In 2014, Pakistan was Canada’s largest market for canola, accounting for 47 per cent of Canadian exports to Pakistan,” she said, adding the trade in agricultural goods would continue to grow.
The envoy said her country was providing assistance to Pakistan to empower women economically. It supports organizations like CARE, KASHF Foundation and the International Labour Organization to train more than 172,000 aspiring women entrepreneurs in key aspects of financial literacy business skills.
“Working with strong partners, we have helped decrease poverty levels for women, families and communities,” she said.
As part of Canada’s $250 million commitment to the global Polio eradication initiative, it is providing $20 million to UNICEF’s Polio Plus initiative in Pakistan.
The effort hopefully would help rid Pakistan of polio, she added.
Canada had been assisting Election Commission of Pakistan and it had assisted the International Foundation for Electoral Systems to train over 243,000 staff of which 25 per were women for 2013 elections held in Pakistan.
On the issues of human rights, she said, the two countries were engaged in an open dialogue and in a spirit of mutual respect.
“Issues which are particularly important to Canada include religious tolerance and respect for minorities, gender equality and freedom of press,” she said, adding an independent and free press was essential for a vibrant democracy.
She welcomed the establishment of an autonomous National Commission for Human Rights and hoped it would get the needed resources to fulfill its obligations.