Pawlett fired home from the edge of the box with only five minutes remaining at St Mirren Park to cancel out Steven Thompson’s well-taken strike early in the second half.
Dons substitute Niall McGinn also missed a golden chance to power the visitors into the top three, but Saints held out to pick up their second point of the campaign.
A combative first half was devoid of clear-cut chance until Scott Vernon got on the end of Joe Shaughnessy’s long-throw by headed straight at Chris Dilo.
The hosts came closest to breaking the deadlock on the half hour when John McGinn warmed the gloves of Jamie Langfield with a powerful 20-yard drive.
But St Mirren did manage to take the lead on 54 minutes as veteran striker Thompson found space in the box to control Paul McGowan’s centre before lashing a crisp shot beyond Langfield.
Pawlett had a shot well blocked by Darren McGregor moments later, and Dilo threw himself to his left to tip away a dipping free-kick from Jonny Hayes that looked destined for the top corner.
Kenny McLean almost doubled the lead for Saints when he flashed a 25-yard piledriver inches wide with Langfield beaten, while Pawlett nodded over from close range.
Aberdeen were then denied an equaliser when McGinn got in behind the home defence and beat Dilo with his shot, which cannoned to safety off the upright.
But St Mirren’s respite lasted only seconds as they failed to clear a corner from Hayes, and Pawlett reacted first to crack a low drive past Dilo.
Aberdeen could have left with all three points when McGinn latched onto a defence-splitting pass from Josh Magennis and blazed his shot over the bar with an unmarked Hayes waiting in the box.
St Mirren skipper Jim Goodwin then dragged an optimistic 20-yard effort wide in added time as both sides settled for a point.