Pakistan and Bulgaria have always enjoyed amicable ties defined by mutual respect and a convergence of views on global & regional developments. Diplomatic relations between the two countries were established on 15th June 1965. Bulgaria opened its Embassy in Islamabad in 1968. Sofia was concurrently accredited to our mission based in Belgrade and Bucharest from August 1965 to May 1971. The first resident envoy was Ambassador Mustafa Kamal who presented his letter of credence on 2nd July 1971. Likewise, Bulgaria’s first Ambassador was Stoyan Karadzhov, whose credentials came into effect in November 1965.
Pakistan’s Mission remained closed in Bulgaria from 1980 to 2009 while the Bulgarian diplomatic post continued to perform its duties. During this interregnum, our Embassy in Bucharest received concurrent accreditation for Bulgaria. Eventually, Pakistan reestablished its Embassy in Sofia on 12th June 2009 and it has been functioning ever since.
Bilateral trade fails to reflect its true potential although for the calendar year 2019, it was recorded at an encouraging aggregate of US$ 45.6 million. Pakistan’s exports were documented at US$ 30.9 million while imports from Bulgaria was calculated at US$ 14.7 million.
Being member simultaneously of the EU, OSCE, NSG, IMF, Berlin Process, WTO and NATO, Bulgaria has assumed added significance in Pakistan’s foreign policy matrix. In terms of distance by land, Bulgaria is the nearest EU member to Pakistan.
Parliamentary Friendship Group
A Pakistan-Bulgaria Parliamentary Friendship Group came into being in our National Assembly in 2010. The corresponding Parliamentary Friendship Group in Bulgaria’s unicameral Narodno Subranie or National Assembly had already been created in 2009 and consists of 7 members.
Bilateral Political Consultations (BPC)
The Protocol on Bilateral Political Consultations between the respective Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria & Pakistan was signed in November 1994 in Islamabad. And the inaugural session was held in Sofia on 7 April 2008. The 2nd BPC chapter was organized in Islamabad on 31st March 2016 after a hiatus of eight years. The 3rd BPC session took place in Sofia on 7th December 2017. The latest BPC was conducted in Islamabad on 5th November 2019. The whole gamut of bilateral ties was deliberated upon from the political, cultural, defence, economic & trade spheres.
Science & Technology
Initially in November 2016, a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) between the Academy of Sciences of Pakistan (PAS) and Bulgaria (BAS) was inked. This instrument was renewed in February 2020.
Institutional links exist between Government College University Lahore and Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski; Trakia University Stara Zagora and University of Veterinary & Animal Sciences, Lahore; National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) and South-West University Neofit Rilski, Sofia; Agriculture University of Plovdiv and University of Agriculture Faisalabad; University of Finance, Business and Entrepreneurship (VUZF) Sofia and Kinnaird College for Women, Lahore; and, VUZF and University Management and Technology (UMT) Lahore.
The Pakistani community residing here is minimal, estimated at hardly 70 individuals. They include those who have married Bulgarian citizens. About two dozen Pakistani students are also enrolled in medical, technical and engineering programs across several local universities.