Pakistanis form the largest immigrant community in Norway

Founder Editor Tazeen Akhtar.. Report,Norway and Pakistan have extremely warm and strengthen ties. Norway's development cooperation with Pakistan dates back to mid-80s and has over the years evolved from commodity assistance to right-based development. The Norwegian government is contributing significantly towards documentation, preservation and dissemination of Pakistan traditional culture, arts, crafts and musical heritage, under an on-going joint institutional cooperation programme between Pakistan and Norway.Pakistanis form the largest immigrant community in Norway and they were the first to arrive in Norway before immigrants of other nationalities. A vast majority of Pakistanis in Norway come from the Punjab, Pakistan and live in Norwegian cities such as Oslo and Drammen.Norway maintains an embassy in Islamabad and a honorary consulate in Lahore[5] and Pakistan has an embassy in Oslo. Norwegian ambassador to Pakistan, Ms. Cecilie Landsverk, presented her credentials to the President of Pakistan, HE. Mr. Asif Ali Zardari on 4 October. The ambassador  visited the flood stricken areas in the province of Sindh during the same month. The local NGO; Research and Development Foundation presented one of their emergency operations in Mirpurkhas, which is initiated in cooperation with Norwegian partner; KN, and funded by the Norwegian government.Norway is now providing NOK 40 million (approximately US$ 7.1 million), which will be channelled through the UN, the Red Cross and other NGOs with experience from Pakistan. Norway has already supported Norwegian Church Aid’s efforts to help 2000 families in Sindh province. Norway has supported the development of a water purification unit, which Norwegian Church Aid is now using.

According to the UN, around NOK 2 billion is needed to help the flood victims. Norway is working with other donor countries and the UN to assist the Pakistani authorities in their emergency relief work.In addition, the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), where Norway is one of the largest donors, will provide funding.

Former  Ambassador to Pakistan Robert Kvile said in a seminar that  Pakistan and Norway have abundant opportunities to strengthen and broaden bilateral relationship in all spheres of life, delivering a lecture on “Pakistan-Norway Bilateral Relations: Contemporary Challenges” jointly organised by Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) Alumni Association and Department of International Relations QAU in Islamabad.

Kvile highlighted the background, scope and different aspects of Pak-Norway relationship in his lecture.

He said that the current level of bilateral trade and investment between the two countries is not significant and that there is huge a potential for enterprises from both countries to start joint ventures.

He identified education, health, good governance and culture as the four priority areas of bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

Kvile also acknowledged the contributions of Pakistani Norwegians for the socio-economic development of Norway. “Pakistani origin citizens are the biggest immigrant population in Oslo (the Norwegian capital) and are actively participating in politics and cultural activities and have integrated into the Norwegian society,” he said.

Earlier, answering a question on Norwegian investment in hydrocarbon industry of Pakistan, the ambassador said that some oil and gas companies are seriously considering Pakistan for exploration activities. However, he said, favourable environment for investment was necessary before such an enterprise materialises.