Gilani’s Oman visit aimed at boosting economic ties


ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani will pay an official two-day visit to Oman to seek greater investment and to enhance trade and economic cooperation between the two countries.
Prime Minister Gilani, during his visit beginning tomorrow, will have an audience with Sultan Qaboos bin Al-Said and will hold talks with the Omani leadership. Talks will primarily be focussed at trade and investment. Situation in the region, Middle East with particular focus on Iraq, Pakistan-India ties and cooperation at multilateral forum would also figure during the talks.
The Prime Minister would also congratulate Sultan Qaboos on Oman’s 40th National Day, which also coincides with 40 years of his reign that brought unprecedented development and progress to the country.
Queen Elizabeth of England and other world leaders had already visited Oman to greet the Sultan. Gilani will be accompanied by Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Chief Minister Balochistan Nawab Muhammad Aslam Khan Raisani.
Pakistan and Oman have deep cultural, historic, religious and ethnic ties and almost 30 percent of Omani population is from Balochi. Gwadar and Makran were part of Oman till 1958.
Oman is also home to around 175,000 Pakistanis, working in diverse fields including skilled and non-skilled workers. The remittances from Oman have also seen a quantum leap over the years, increasing from $130 million in 2005-06 to $287 million in 2009-10.
Sultan Qaboos visited Pakistan in 2001 and announced $100 million grant, the larger chunk of which – $64 million was allocated for development in Balochistan. An amount of $17.5 million was earmarked for Gwadar international airport.
Pakistan would urge Oman to divert the unspent amount of $19.1 million for the relief of the flood affected people. Oman is also a founding member of the Gulf Cooperation Council, member of the Arab League and the United Nations as well as founder member of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation.
In November 2010, the UN Development Programme’s (UNDP) Human Development Report listed Oman as the “most-improved” nation in the last 40 years from among 135 countries worldwide. The report identified top movers relative to the starting point in 1970. Oman ranks first out of 135, followed by Saudi Arabia (5th), Tunisia (7th), Algeria (9th) and Morocco (10th).