Sep 15, 2016 (BE2C2 Report) — Ferry service to Oman and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from Gwadar and Karachi may see light of the day by 2017.
While responding to a question on the planned ferry service, Pakistani Ambassador to Oman Mr. Ali Javed told Times of Oman in an exclusive interview that the initiation of ferry service from Karachi/Gwadar to Muscat was under keen consideration of the Pakistan Government.
“As these would be purely privately- owned commercial operations, the government is preparing the necessary framework and processes for streamlining the sector. We can hope that 2017 will witness the initiation of a ferry service to Muscat, which will add substance to people-to-people linkages.”
Around 250,000 Pakistanis and Omanis of Pakistan origin reside in Oman. Around 30% of Omanis are of Baloch origin, having settled in Oman over a hundred years ago, according to Wikipedia.
The Ambassador also explained the details of a possible oil pact between the two countries.
“The matter is being reviewed. More than 20 countries have been approved for government-to-government negotiations for LNG and LNG terminals. Two Omani firms — OTI and Orpic — are among the shortlisted companies. A preliminary informal discussion with both took place in Islamabad in August. However, for long-term oil contract, experts are reviewing the matter further,” he added.
When asked what role Oman could play in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Mr. Javed said Oman had a lot to gain from such a high profile strategic development. “Located at 202 nautical miles from Gwadar Port, Oman is our closest maritime friend and it can therefore naturally and directly benefit from the vast opportunities offered by CPEC, including exports of goods to China and Central Asia.”
Oman is the nearest Arab country to Pakistan, because of this they both share a Maritime boundary with each other.
Gwadar was formerly part of Oman but was sold to Pakistan in 1958. It was integrated within Balochistan in 1977.
The two close countries have further agreed to intensify cooperation across the entire spectrum of bilateral relations, with the visit of Sartaj Aziz, advisor to Pakistan Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs setting the tone for an increased interaction.
Ambassador Javed said the agenda for the year 2017 would be made public very soon.
“This agenda, once approved by the two governments, shall set in motion a host of activities to cover bilateral political, defense, security, trade and investment ties, as well as exchanges in the arenas of culture, sports and media. I am sure that by the end of 2017, a new level of trust and friendship will emerge between the public and private sectors, which will provide an enabling atmosphere to take this relationship forward.”