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Scottish Government’s Pakistan Plan

DescriptionThe Scottish Government's Pakistan Plan recognises the need for targeted activity to maximise the economic opportunities and focuses on three key areas - culture, business, trade and investment, and tourism.
Official Print Publication Date
Website Publication DateSeptember 02, 2010

Flag of PakistanThe Scottish Government's International Framework recognises Pakistan as a significant international player within the Commonwealth as well as the country of origin for many who now reside in Scotland. South Asia more widely is a growing market for Scotland and we are committed to developing a strategic approach of engagement with the region and Pakistan in particular.

Pakistan is the world's 15th largest economy, the world's third largest English speaking nation and has a population of 172 million. Building on the historic and modern links between Scotland and Pakistan to develop a closer relationship between the countries will create the potential for opportunities for the benefit of both.

The Scottish Government's International Framework sets out a fresh approach where the Scottish Government would develop closer relations on international work with Scottish Development International (SDI), VisitScotland, EventScotland and Creative Scotland leading to a Team Scotland approach. At the same time, the Framework stressed the importance of maximising all resources at our disposal including those provided by the UK and engaging directly with UK Trade Investment (UKTI), the British Council and the High Commissions and Embassies.

This work is directed to achieving our objectives of:

  • creating the conditions for talented people to live, learn, visit, work and remain in Scotland - so that the Scottish population growth matches the EU average
  • bringing a sharp economic growth focus to the promotion of Scotland abroad - so that the Scottish GDP growth rate matches the UK's by 2011
  • managing Scotland's reputation as a distinctive global identity, an independent minded and responsible nation at home and abroad and confident of its place in the world.

The Scottish Government will work with key Pakistani partners and stakeholders in the private, public and third sector to make the most of opportunities and collaborations in a way that contributes to the Scottish Government's over-arching purpose of sustainable economic growth for Scotland. We will build on and help target resources at our disposal to co-ordinate current activity and add momentum for future collaboration between Scotland and Pakistan.

By working with Pakistan and strengthening our relationship we can contribute to Scotland's economic growth. The key areas we have identified for having potential for co-operation are culture, business, trade and investment and tourism but we will also consider opportunities as they arise in other areas.

South Asia Development Programme

The South Asia Development Programme of the Scottish Government's international development policy includes development assistance for Pakistan to support local communities to work their way out of extreme poverty. The international development policy also states how the Scottish Government can assist in responding to international humanitarian crises by supporting Scottish based organisations working on the relief efforts when a Disasters Emergency Committee appeal is launched, as shown in the Scottish Government's response to the floods in Pakistan in August 2010.

Existing links

There is a vibrant and diverse Pakistani community based in Scotland and many Scots have strong family, business and other links with Pakistan. There are currently a number of business and trade links between Scotland and Pakistan. Business links between Scotland and Pakistan are currently strongest in the chemical and mineral products, rubber and plastics sectors, with exports in 2008 estimated to account for around £20m of trade. Other areas such as wholesale and retail hotels and other services are estimated to have accounted for a further £10m. Existing links in the chemicals sector reflect an area where Scotland has a strong competitive advantage.

There is also a direct air link between Glasgow and Lahore which is used by both business and leisure travellers. There are currently around 5,000 visitors to Scotland from Pakistan each year with expenditure of around £2 million - £4 million. VisitScotland and VisitBritain work closely with several tourism trade partners in Pakistan who organise trips to Scotland. VisitScotland arranges familiarisation trips to Scotland for trade representatives to help persuade them to promote tourism in Scotland. There are links between schools in Glasgow and Pakistan through the British Council's Connecting Classrooms programme. In 2008/09, around 640 students from Pakistan were studying at Scottish universities and colleges. Direct university to university and college to college links exist including through the Commonwealth Scholars & Fellows programme.

The future

The objective of the Pakistan Plan is to focus on the areas of culture, business,trade and investment and tourism identifying existing activity and links, building on those and exploring new opportunities. To do that, the Scottish Government recognises the important role that many stakeholders can play, especially the Pakistan community and Scots with links to Pakistan. Being able to draw from such a wealth of knowledge will be a key resource for building up a clear picture of past, current and planned links.

Having developed our understanding of the links between Scotland and Pakistan, we will focus on raising awareness of those links and the benefits they bring. It will be important to work with the communities and the Pakistan Consulate to contribute to enhancing the reputation of both countries. We will also work with organisations across sectors to seek to explore potential for new links for more effective and joined-up activity. Key partners will include Scottish Development International and UK Trade Investment who work in close partnership across Asia. The British Council is already involved in a number of education initiatives and we will continue to engage with them and other organisations in the education sector as and when appropriate opportunities arise. We will also work closely with key cultural organisations to celebrate and develop the cultural links between Scotland and Pakistan.


The Scottish Government will seek to harness the enthusiasm and co-operation of the Pakistani community in Scotland and Scots with links to Pakistan to take this plan forward. We will liaise with the Pakistani Consulate to develop links with the Pakistani Government. We will collaborate with a group of key stakeholders identified by the Pakistan Consul General to map existing networks and links. Again, working with the stakeholder group, we will seek opportunities to develop new links.

The Scottish Government will look to raise the profile of Scotland-Pakistan links as appropriate opportunities arise and will look at how we can use these links to enhance the reputation of both Scotland and Pakistan. We will work with the UK Government and UK bodies on issues which have an impact on this relationship recognising that there are some useful existing links on which we can build. We will research for appropriate events and activities to promote our 2 countries and the links between them. We will explore the potential for engaging with the Scottish Diaspora in Pakistan and other networks to raise the profile of Scotland in Pakistan.


The Scottish Government will help support and connect cultural activity that celebrates and develops the links between Scotland and Pakistan. Working with the Pakistani stakeholder group and key cultural partners (Creative Scotland, Scotland's National Performing Companies and National Collections, local government partners and the wider cultural sector) we will develop and support the involvement of Scotland's Pakistani communities in cultural activity across Scotland. We will also seek to raise the profile of Pakistani culture, arts and artists in Scotland; working with cultural and creative individuals, organisations and partners in Scotland and Pakistan and maximising the opportunities for showcasing and promoting activity at major events, with particular reference to the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

Business, trade and investment

Scottish Development International works closely with UKTI in Asia and we will use that partnership as well as working with other partners and stakeholders, such as government agencies and universities, to identify potential opportunities to develop business and trade links between Scotland and Pakistan in line with existing priorities and resources. We want to assist in raising awareness of Pakistani businesses and the opportunities for Scottish businesses to collaborate with them. We will work with partners to identify possible business opportunities around the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. This significant event on Scottish soil will provide many opportunities for local businesses to provide goods and services which Scottish based Pakistani businesses can exploit. There may also be the opportunity for Pakistan-based businesses to tender for Commonwealth Games contracts.


Tourism between Pakistan and Scotland is largely stimulated by family visits and a direct air link already exists between Scotland and Pakistan. We will explore opportunities to promote the direct air link between Scotland and Pakistan to encourage further tourism. Working with partners such as VisitScotland and VisitBritain, we will identify potential opportunities to raise the profile of Scotland as a tourist destination more widely.


The Scottish Government will support initiatives to raise the profile of Scotland as a place to live, learn, visit, study and work. Additionally we will work with the Scottish education sector to help develop international links and support the aims of the Fresh Talent Initiative. Consistent with our approach to international engagement more widely, we will explore specific opportunities for promotion of Scotland and Pakistan links as they arise and work with all our partners to the mutual benefit of Scotland and Pakistan. There will also be links between Scotland and Pakistan through the South Asia Development Programme.

Implementation and Evaluation

The International Division within the Scottish Government will have overall responsibility for monitoring the delivery of the Plan.