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Politics & Policy

Sultan Qaboos visits Pakistan



Science & Technology


Politics & Policy

A new chapter in economic relations between the two brotherly countries

From Shamim Ahmed Rizvi,
 Apr 30 - May 06, 2001

The first ever state visit of Sultan of Oman since historic OIC summit in Lahore in 1974, will go a long way in strengthening the existing ties between the two Muslim countries. The Chief Executive Gen. Pervez Musharraf told newsmen after official talks with Sultan Bin Qaboos Bin Said that this "visit will take the existing ties to the new heights and open many new avenues of cooperation in various fields".

Gen. Musharraf and Sultan of Oman, accompanied by a number of economic and defence aides and advisors, held wide-ranging talks in Islamabad on Sunday and identified several potential areas of mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields. General Musharraf told newsmen that Oman and Pakistan are serious to expand their relations to the new heights. Both sides recognized the need for collaboration in economic, trade and commercial fields and also in defence area, where we have common interest, he said. The two countries also signed an agreement to set up Pak-Oman investment company with paid up capital of Rs. 15 billion for the promotion of investment in the fields of industry and agriculture.

Pakistan and Oman have traditionally enjoyed excellent cooperative relations and the perception to take their ties to the new heights is a manifestation of their brotherly ties. There obviously exists enough room for further expansion in economic trade and commercial sectors and the identification of areas in this connection during the Musharraf-Qaboos parleys focuses the desire on both sides to develop mutually beneficial relationship. The decision to promote their ties to the new heights emerges from the common faith, culture and history that the two countries shared for centuries. It is hoped that the understanding will give new impetus to the overall relations between the two countries. The cooperation in the field of defence has a strategic importance for both the nations in view of the emerging regional scenario. There is an immense potential for the mutually advantageous collaboration in this field.

His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, since his accession, has adopted economic policies aimed at the diversification of the economy to spread and increase sources of the national income and, in concert with this, the strong encouragement of the private sector to shake off its reliance upon its oil-rich heritage. The attractive terms being offered to foreign investors in Oman's economic expansion, Sultanate's political stability and reputation for fair dealing under the able and wise leadership of his Majesty has promoted foreign investment in Oman. Oman is steadily becoming a modern state headed by benevolent leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos. The industrial growth of Oman, in recent years is unparalleled on the region. The exportable products, apart from petrochemical products cover, vegetable oil, plastics, aluminum products, electric wires and cables, detergents, dates, fisheries and foam products etc. The dependence of Oman's economy is gradually moving from oil to non-oil based products and the present diversified economic base of Oman is to the credit of wise leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos. Oman capital market is well developed, supported by state-of-the art Stock Exchange. The country enjoys a well-developed and established financial and banking sector. Today, stable at home, with no threats on the international horizon, and with a prudently planned economic and political future, Oman appears well placed to benefit from opportunities to be offered by the 21st century.

The agreement signed by Pakistan's Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs, Shaukat Aziz, and Oman's Minister for Commerce and Industry, Maqbool Bin Ali Sultan, on Sunday for the establishment of a joint Investment Company in Pakistan with an initial paid-up capital of Rs. 1.5 billion to be contributed equally by the governments, has indeed opened a new chapter in economic relations between the two brotherly countries.

In addition to the decision to establish a joint Investment Company, the two countries rightly look forward to a steady pace of expansion in bilateral trade, besides promoting cultural and social relations between the people of the two countries and strengthening the existing understanding on regional and global political issues. There is reason to expect that the new initiative in economic cooperation between Pakistan and Oman is likely to ensure inflow of investment from Oman into Pakistan in wide-ranging viable projects, particularly in the building of a deep sea port at Gwadar and economic uplift of the Gwadar city as a whole. It may be mentioned that closeness of ties between Pakistan and Oman is evident from the fact that a large number of Pakistanis have been enrolled in the Oman Army. Under an agreement signed by the officials of the two countries during the visit of Sultan Qaboos, the army personnel from Oman would be allowed training facilities in Pakistan's defence institutions.

The joint Investment Company under the title of Pak-Oman Investment Company, the institution will undoubtedly be welcomed as a source of strength for Pakistan's capital market. It would understandably operate as a Development Finance Company (DFI) on the pattern of the Saudi-Pak, Pak Kuwait and Pak Libya development finance institutions which have been working in Pakistan for over two decades.