Perry John Calderwood, An eminent diplomat coping with elusive scenarios

Canada and Pakistan established diplomatic relations in 1947 shortly after Pakistan’s independence. Pakistan’s representation in Canada by a High Commission in Ottawa and Consulates General in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver has been an evident example. In addition to the High Commission in Islamabad, Canada maintains a Consulate and Trade Office in Karachi and a Consulate in Lahore. Canada pursues a broad range of interests in its bilateral relations with Pakistan. Major points of mutual interest include people-to-people links, governance and democracy, human rights, climate change, development cooperation, regional security and defense, transnational crime, and trade and investment. Both countries also participate actively on the international stage as members of the United Nations, including through the Conference of Parties for the Framework Convention on Climate Change. Both countries have a long history of significant contributions to peacekeeping. Canada and Pakistan are also members of the Commonwealth, the Heart of Asia Istanbul Process related to security in Afghanistan and the wider region, and the Malta Process related to international child abductions. Canada believes that democracy is integral to a peaceful and prosperous future for Pakistanis and to this end supports programs that help strengthen Pakistan’s democratic institutions. This includes the full participation of women in the democratic process.

Perry John Calderwood High Commissioner of Canada in Pakistan is the custodian of the ongoing relations. He remains busy to incorporate several different initiatives to engrave positive outcomes. He categorically says that Canada and Pakistan have a broad relationship that spans many areas adding that there was a great potential for further strengthening of ties in the years ahead.

He also admits that both the countries tend to maintain ongoing dialogue on many multilateral issues such as climate change and our shared commitment to United Nations Peacekeeping. “Our trade relations are growing”, he once revealed.

In 2016, two-way trade exceeded $1.4 billion Canadian dollars (about 110 billion PKR), the highest level ever between Pakistan and Canada.

Canadian companies have great expertise and experience in sectors such as energy, agro-food industry, information and communications technology (ICT), and mining. Pakistan can get benefit out of it. Perry John Calderwood has expressed his feelings at many occasions mentioning that people-to-people relations are very much vibrant.  A large and growing community of Canadians of Pakistani heritage whose members are playing a key role in further building relations between the two countries. A growing number of Pakistani students are choosing Canada as a destination for their university studies. Their presence is enriching the universities and communities, and they represent another strong pillar in the bilateral relationship. While speaking about the democratic behaviors and people of Pakistan, Mr. Perry says, “One of the things that have impressed me in my travels around Pakistan and my meetings with a wide range of people is the strong democratic vocation of Pakistanis”. “Pakistan has made great strides in building its democracy and I am confident that it will continue to make progress in the years ahead in consolidating its democratic culture”, he further revealed.

Pakistan is emerging as a trading nation because of its location at the crossroads of South Asia, China, Central Asia, West Asia and the Indian Ocean. With its liberal pro-investment policies, Pakistan has a rapidly growing economy with a highly skilled and moderately priced workforce.

Pakistan always looks forward to strengthen and diversify its ties with Canada. Canada admits that Pakistan is a beautiful country with dynamic and entrepreneurial population, and unique and diverse culture. This is the reason that importance of strengthening of bilateral ties between the two countries becomes more imperative. No doubt Pakistan is on a threshold of an economic boom and there exists a huge potential for Canadian firms to capitalize and Perry John Calder realizes it very well. He always spread good thoughts and views regarding Pakistan. The recent rise in the number of Canadian business people working with Pakistan is encouraging. Oil rigs and mining equipment are needed to exploit Pakistan’s vast natural resources. Canada could make profitable investment in the oil, gas and minerals exploration, information technology, infrastructure, power generation, agro-business and science and technology sectors. Canadian business can also benefit from Pakistan’s IT-enabled services in animation and gaming, retail banking and finance, mobile content, document management and call centers. A number of multinationals have established themselves in Pakistan because it’s a competitive offshore destination in cost and quality. In an interview Mr. Perry John Calderwood categorically expressed his experience being here in Pakistan. He said that it is his eighth diplomatic posting; and the first one in Asia and so far he is enjoying the opportunity to learn and explore a country and a part of the world which is new to him. While discussing about being here in Pakistan he further said, “I have had a number of Pakistani friends in Canada and have worked closely with Pakistani diplomatic colleagues in other countries where I have served. They had told me about Pakistan and therefore I had a fairly good sense of what to expect before I arrived here. Since my arrival in Pakistan, I have made a special effort to travel within Pakistan as much as possible in order to discover the diversity of your country and to identify ways in which I can contribute to strengthening the ties between Canada and Pakistan. One thing that has struck me is the richness of Pakistan’s cultural heritage. All Pakistanis should be proud of your country’s remarkable culture. Also, I have been impressed by the energy and creativity of the people of Pakistan, especially of the youth. I think Pakistan is a country of great potential and I am confident that progress will continue to be made in the years ahead toward realizing that potential”.

In addition to the health sector, Canada currently funds development programming in Pakistan in the area of education with a focus on improving the quality of primary school teacher training. Hundreds of thousands of public school teachers have benefited from this as have millions of Pakistani children.


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About Saima Zaman 40 Articles
Writer is the Assistant Editor ‘Mélange int’l Magazine’, ‘The Asian Telegraph’ & Project Coordinator (COPAIR); a degree holder in communication & media sciences.