To attract foreign investment seems to be the focus
of Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz's visit to Oman last week.
He paid a 2-day official visit to state of Oman where
besides meeting Sultan Qaboos and his cabinet ministers, the Prime
Minister also met the top business slot of the Gulf State "to
elaborate investment opportunities and incentives offered to foreign
investors in Pakistan.
Before leaving for Oman, he had a meeting with Prince
Al Waheed Bin Talal Al Saud of Saudi Arabia - and explained about
investment opportunities available in Pakistan. He also addressed the
first ever NWFP International Investment Conference, at 156th Islamic
Ideology Council during the week.
During his visit to Oman, leaders of the two
countries agreed to enhance bilateral relations in all spheres of
economic activities. The talks also covered regional and international
issues including the prevailing situation in Middle East and Iraq.
"I had a wonderful and meaningful discourse with
Sultan Qaboos whose wisdom and sagacity is acclaimed by all of us,"
Shaukat Aziz said at the Sultan's palace in Nizwa while talking to
newsmen. The two leaders discussed the regional issues and the ways to
bring Pakistan and Oman closer to each other. Referring to cordial
Pak-Oman relations, the two leaders were confident that the existing
ties would further strengthened to the benefit of the people of the two
Islamic countries in the days to come.
While addressing the business community of the rich
Gulf State, Prime Minister observed that wide-ranging reforms, prudent
macro-economic policies, financial discipline and consistency of
policies over the last five years have transformed Pakistan into an
excitingly growing economy. PM said a two pronged strategy of improving
country's macroeconomic fundamentals and wide ranging structural reforms
in every sector of the economy have rebuild Pakistan's economy on sound
footings which is striving for robust growth.
He underlined the improved governance and sustained
fiscal policies that have made Pakistan economically stronger and
politically stable country. Pakistan now offers the best investment
opportunities to foreign investors with attractive returns without any
discrimination between local and foreign investors, he added.
On the home front, the Saudi Prince Alwaheed bin
Talal during his 2-day visit to Pakistan, called on President Musharraf
and the Prime Minister. After his meeting Shaukat Aziz introduced Prince
Waheed to the waiting newsmen saying he induced an entrepreneurial
spirit in the Islamic World with his ability to invest around the world.
He run his affairs professionally and is a leading force in the world of
tourism, information technology, entertainment and Media.
Prince Al Waheed bin Talal indicated that his group
of companies would invest in Pakistan's tourism sector, construct hotels
and look for joint ventures in other areas. Prince Waheed, who is the
Chairman of the Kingdom Holding Company, said he has approved a macro
study of Pakistan's tourism sector and would invest in international
hotels at Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi. The company would purchase, go
for alliance or construct new the hotels.
At the concluding session of the first ever 3 day
NWFP International Investment Conference, the Prime Minister observed
that the government has a priority agenda for next five to 10 years
aimed at economic development of the country.
They are the provision of drinking and irrigation
water, electricity, gas, and infrastructure of railways, roads and
airports in the country. He said that most of the roads in the province
have been federalized, and would be constructed by the federal
government. Beside this, he said the federal government was also
cooperating in getting loans from the World Bank and the Asian
Development Bank for the province.
About the long-standing demand for the National
Finance Commission (NFC) Award, he said the federal government would
have no objection to the formula agreed by the four federating units on
the NFC Award. The crucial matter of the NFC Award should be resolved
through mutual understanding by the federating units, he added.
Addressing the Peshawar Bar Association, the Prime
Minister declared that the provision of quick justice to the masses was
one of the top priorities of his government, which was seriously
considering introducing necessary reforms in the judicial system.
"Justice delayed is justice denied". Said the premier adding
only those countries went for quick progress where swift justice was
ensured to the citizens. "Delay in provision of justice in fact
marred the development process of the country", he added. The prime
minister sounded optimistic that the proposed reforms in the judicial
system would not only further fine tune it but would also go a long way
in reducing procedural delays and ensuring transparency in dispensation
of quick justice to the people.
Speaking at the 156th meeting of the Islamic Ideology
Council in Islamabad, Prime Minister called upon the religious leaders
to benefit from the research work carried out on "Ijtehad" by
other Islamic states for promoting a progressive culture in the country.
Dispelling the notion of civilization clash between
Islam and the West, Prime Minister said that Islam is religion of peace,
tolerance and equality. Some quarters with vested interest were hatching
conspiracies against Islam. Ummah will have to forge unity among its
ranks and rise up to the occasion to fight out the negative tactics, he