Karachi-Gwadar-Muscat ferry service to facilitate travellers: PM

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ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Thursday said the Karachi-Gawadar-Muscat ferry service will multiply facilities for the regular travellers.

In a meeting with Oman State Council President Dr Yahya Mahfoodh Salim Al-Manthri here, he welcomed the proposal to launch a ferry service between the Pakistani cities and Oman’s capital.

The premier said the ferry service would provide an affordable alternative source of transportation for a large number of people, who travel on these routes on a regular basis.

“Pakistan and Oman are natural allies due to geographical proximity and the leadership, government and people of Pakistan hold Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al-Said and the brotherly people of Oman in high esteem,” said the premier. Sharif said the initiative will start a new chapter of friendship between both countries.

The two countries have been working to start the ferry service between these cities for a few years. More than 250,000 Pakistanis and Omanis of Pakistan origin reside in Oman.

Approximately, 30 per cent Omanis, who settled there a century ago, are of Baloch origin. Previously, Gwadar was part of Oman and was sold to Pakistan in 1958. The territory was integrated within Balochistan in 1977. Pakistan and Oman – the nearest Arab country to Pakistan – share a Maritime boundary.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan was grateful to Oman for its support in connection with a free trade agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council.

On people-to-people contacts, he expressed satisfaction that Oman was hosting a sizeable Pakistani diaspora working in various sectors.

Pakistan could further provide both unskilled and highly professional manpower in various fields, including medicine, engineering, information technology, accountancy, education and technical, he added.

Both countries could benefit immensely through mutual exchange of experts in the field of education, and science and technology, said the Prime Minister. He invited investment by Oman in energy-related projects, infrastructure development and consumer-based industry.

The Omani delegation who accompanied Al-Manthri comprised Education and Research Committee member Sheikh Hamed Mohammed Abdallah Bahwan Al-Mukhaini, Culture, Media and Tourism Committee member Mohamed Ahmed Ali Al Rawas, Economic Committee member Dr Ahmed Sulaiman Saleh Al-Maimani, Social Committee Deputy Chairman Wafa Salim Ali Al Harrasi and Social Committee member Dr Aisha Ahmed Yousuf Al-Washahi. Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani and Senator Taj Haider were among senior officials who were present in the meeting.