Thursday, 21 October 2021, 10:22:58 pm
Interview: Bernhard Schlagheck, German Ambassador to Pakistan
September 18, 2021

Germany has appreciated the positive role played by Pakistan in bringing about the Doha Process for stability, peace and prosperity in Afghanistan.

In an exclusive interview with News and Current Affairs Channel of Radio Pakistan, German Ambassador to Pakistan Bernhard Schlagheck expressed the confidence that Islamabad will continue playing a very constructive role in Afghanistan in future. The government of Pakistan and armed forces are quite engaged in trying to convince Taliban to bring about an inclusive government in Afghanistan.

He said Pakistan is aware of its potential importance and role in the whole of region.

To a question about role of Afghanistan's neighbors, the German ambassador said none of them wants instability in Afghanistan as it is a recipe of political disaster. There is a genuine understanding that peace and stability in Afghanistan is of vital interest to the region.

The German ambassador said Taliban are as much a reality in Afghanistan as well as the precarious humanitarian situation in the country. He said Germany being a responsible partner of international community is ready to play its role in Afghanistan.

The ambassador said it is very much important that Taliban are willing to discard their old lenses. He said we are willing to engage with Afghanistan, however, the question of recognition is not on agenda at the moment.

Bernhard Schlagheck said at the recent Geneva Conference on Afghanistan, Germany pledged 100 million Euros in aid for helping out Afghanistan. He said we are pondering to add another 500 million Euros into that, but that has not yet been formally announced.

Speaking about relations between Pakistan and Germany, Bernhard Schlagheck said both the countries have been enjoying friendly and amicable relations since the establishment of their diplomatic relations seventy years ago and there is a scope to further widen these in diverse sectors. 

He said the two countries have strong bilateral contacts

He said German businessmen are looking for trade as well as investment opportunities in the promising market of Pakistan. He said the business outlook of Pakistan is outstanding. 

He told the interviewer that Pakistan and Germany have robust trade relations marked by volume of three billion Euros. There are also intensive people-to-people exchanges and development cooperation between Islamabad and Berlin.

Bernhard Schlagheck said Germany has invested roughly four billion Euros over the years in Pakistan in development aid. He said aid priority has now been shifted according to requirements of the Pakistani government. Currently, the main focus is on climate change, alternative energy including solar and power production and other areas.

Appreciating the steps taken by the incumbent government to make the country greener, Bernhard Schlagheck said Islamabad can be a role model in a clean and green approach to nature and environment. In solar energy production, both countries can enhance cooperation further.   Regarding cooperation in auto sector, the German ambassador said both sides are exploring and discussing further avenues in this regard. In not too distant future, he said, German car manufacturers might enter into the Pakistani market.

Bernhard Schlagheck said we are also cooperating with Pakistan in training the Pakistani youth in learning technical skills. In addition, Germany has been providing vaccines to many developing countries including Pakistan through Covax.

He said German broadcaster Deutsche Welle has been cooperating with Pakistani media organizations. He said DW has some programmes under which Pakistani journalists can be invited to Germany to get further media training.

He told the state broadcaster that German airlines are in consultation with Pakistani authorities to start flights to and from Pakistan.

The German ambassador said people-to-people contacts are very important in development of bilateral relations. He said tourism and academic exchanges are important as over 5,000 Pakistani students are studying in German educational institutions. He said Pakistani students can learn German language free of charge in Germany. Besides, the German universities also offer scholarships for international students at various levels.

He said a thriving Pakistani community of 70,000 comprising traders and skilled people is playing a decent role in the development of the German society. This also plays a bridge between the two countries.

 

Credits 

Host: Javed Siddiq

Producer: Saeed Ahmad

Executive Producer: Abdul Raoof Khan