ISLAMABAD: Canada’s Assistant Deputy Minister for Global Affairs Paul Thoppil has said that the recent signing of the framework by Canadian firm Barrick Gold for the re-launching of the Reko Diq mining project has the potential for Canada to be one of the largest foreign investor in Pakistan.

Speaking at a ceremony at the Pakistan High Commi­ssion in Ottawa on Friday, Mr Thoppil said Canada values its bilateral relationship with Pakistan and there are many regular opportunities for engagement between the two countries.

He described as very positive the economic relationship between the two countries and appreciated the growth in bilateral trade, which had risen to $1.2 billion in 2021. He highlighted a significant high-level enga­gement over the past year between both countries, including calls between foreign ministers of both countries as well as a visit of Canada’s deputy foreign minister to Pakistan.

The Canadian minister termed the Pakistan-Canada relationship as being strong and underpinned by strong people-to-people ties. He said Pakistan was the fifth largest source of immigration to Canada, with more than 250,000 Canadians of Pakistani origin living in the country.

Speaking on the occasion, Pakistan’s Acting High Commissioner to Canada, Shahbaz Malik, expressed confidence that bilateral relations between Pakistan and Canada would further expand in the days ahead to include a full spectrum of political, economic, security, and cultural arenas for the mutual benefit of both countries and their people.

He said both Pakistan and Canada continue to cooperate on bilateral and multilateral fora due to a commonality of views on a number of global challenges like peace and security, climate change, and multilateralism.

He lauded Canada’s “invaluable humanitarian support to Pakistan through the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Published in Dawn, May 15th, 2022

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