Pakistan and Canada are allies in the war against terrorism and extremism. Both countries have a shared goal to establish peace in tribal areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan and to eradicate menace of terrorism from this region to ensure global peace and stability. There is active exchange of information between security forces of Canada and Pakistan to curb menace of terrorism and other crimes. Pakistan and Canada have also agreed to enhance defence cooperation, especially in the military area.
Pakistan’s security forces like Frontier corps, Levies, and Khassadarans are fighting militancy in tribal areas. Although, Pakistan Army and the US worked hard to train these forces, due to lack of resources and political expediencies, their training is at standstill. Canadian Defence Minister Mr. Peter MacKay, in his visit to Pakistan, offered to re-open and revive Canadian Military Training Assistance Programme (MTAP), which would further enhance defence cooperation between the two countries. Canada can play a vital role in the training of FC, Levies and Khassadarans so they can effectively fight militancy in tribal areas and also secure the border with Afghanistan. This training would revamp Pakistan’s forces deployed in tribal areas and help them considerably to face the challenge posed by highly trained militants.
Pakistan’s CJCSC General Khalid Shameem Wynne recently visited Canada and met Chief of Defence Staff General Walter J Natynczyk. Both discussed the regional security issues including war in Afghanistan and counter-terrorism operations by Pakistan. Such high-level visits between Pakistan and Canada would enhance their defense relationship.
Pakistan is blessed with beautiful mountains and valleys. The Gilgit-Baltistan region is a paradise for tourists. Places like Skardu, Hunza Valley, Chitral Valley, Kalash Valley and Garam Chashma are really fascinating. Apart from these areas, there are many others in KPK like Takht-i-Bhai, Swat, Shangla, Shogran, Kaghan Valley, Balakot and Kaghan. Every year, hundreds of mountaineers, climbers, trekkers and hikers visit these beautiful places. Pakistan can offer special packages with enhanced security, special discount and transport service for the people of Canada to visit these serene areas. Pakistan can also seek Canadian investment for promoting tourism and trade industry. In this way, Pakistan’s tourism industry will get a boost and people-to-people contacts with Canada will also increase.
Prime Minister Raja Parvez Ashraf had invited Canadian firms to invest in power sector of Pakistan when he was Federal Minister for Water and Power. He assured full support to the Canadian firms. It is expected that after becoming PM, he will focus on this issue and enhance cooperation with Canada in the water and power sector. Pakistan’s water and power sector possesses huge potential and the investors in this area would get high returns due to incentive-based liberal policy of this government. Pakistan can benefit from Canadian expertise in hydel, coal, and wind power generation.
CIDA has played an important role in the revitalization of the energy sector in Pakistan. Pakistan’s economy has faced huge setbacks due to energy shortfall. CIDA is assisting Pakistan to improve its capacity to manage its hydrocarbon resources more efficiently. Initiatives include strengthening the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources in policy formulation, planning and coordination; development of appropriate regulatory frameworks; and development and enforcement of effective conservation, safety and environmental regulations. All these steps would help Pakistan efficiently use its hydrocarbon resources and minimise losses in energy sector. Apart from this, Pakistan can seek Canadian help in utilizing renewable energy resources.
Canada has immense expertise in the wind energy sector. Canada’s current installed capacity is close to 5,511 MW. More than 1.5 million homes are benefiting from wind energy in Canada. The Canadian Wind Energy Association has outlined a future strategy for wind energy that would reach a capacity of 55,000 MW by 2025, meeting 20% of the country’s energy needs. This shows how professionally Canada is pursuing this option. Pakistan must collaborate with Canada and revamp its wind energy sector. Pakistan has a huge potential for wind energy. Areas in Sindh, like Jhampir, Gharo and Keti Bander have a huge potential for wind energy. Proper investment in these areas could address our energy problems. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory USA, Pakistan has a potential of 346 GW of electricity that can be generated only from wind, and if only 10% of that i.e. 34GW is achieved in the next 15-20 years, it would greatly help. With the help of Canada, Pakistan will be on its way towards energy security.
Pakistan can also take help from Canada in the development of Hydroelectricity. Canada is the world's second largest producer of hydroelectricity in the world after China, and one of few countries to generate the majority of its electricity from hydroelectricity. Pakistan must utilize expertise of Canada in hydroelectricity and build new dams and reservoirs to overcome its energy woes.
Pakistan can seek Canadian help in the development of its huge coal reserves. Pakistan possesses huge reserves of natural resources like coal, natural gas and other minerals. But due to lack of resources, Pakistan is reluctant to extract this immense wealth in Balochistan, KPK, and Sindh. Pakistan can seek Canadian assistance in this regard. Coal reserves in Canada rank fifth largest in the world at approximately 10 billion tonnes, 4% of the world total, whereas Pakistan possess 186 billion tons of coal reserves. Canadian investors must invest in energy sector of Pakistan and earn huge profit. Both countries can chalk out a plan to mutually benefit from these huge coal deposits in Pakistan.
Pakistan and Canada’s relationship is moving in the right direction. Both countries have immense resources, technological ability and the manpower to give greater substance to the relationship. Both countries collaborated closely in the efforts against militancy and terrorism. Pakistan and Canada are closely working for the peace and stability of FATA and Afghanistan, so that these areas do not become a safe haven for the militants related to Al-Qaeda, Taliban or any other militant group. Pakistan and Canada must extend their social, political, economic and security relations and work for global peace and security.