Sultan of Oman
Noble peace prize worthy statesman
Farah Azeem Shah
The first son Qaboos of Sultan Said was born from his wife Maizoon Bin Ahmad Bin Ali Almansha on 18th November 1940. Though the name Qaboos is unfamiliar among Arabs, but at that time this was to be the name of one of the greatest Sultans in the world. At the time of being named, he was given the title of Al-Said. Al-Said is the title of Princes in Oman. This new born was born to be a ruler. How many newly born babies on that day were destined to earn bread for only them but this baby was born to rule and was destined to make such society from his tiresome hardships in which his nation would live a life of dignity. All cultures and nations believed that rulers and Sultans were born on some special day in history. May be this is the nature of God that a mortal man rules the world. Due to this basic importance, some peculiar traits are to be found in the name and destiny of that person. This became more important when it is to name one of the royal family members. The reality is this that the wonder of the name has gathered the interest of many people. When people name their child on the names of sacred prophets, khaliphs, malooks, Sultans, or saints, then they unconsciously want that these names would become the reason of such powers and qualities which were once the part of the person having that name.
This is not in our hands to find out that on which basis Sultan Said Bin Taimoor named his first born son as Qaboos, but our estimation is this that Sultan night had felt a great deal of happiness and joy of hearing the news of the birth of his child, especially when the future was looking quite unpredictable. This was the time of the rise of uncertain chaos. May be at that time his thoughts went to the past and sacred ancestors. There is no exaggeration in saying so that he might have searched for the reason and basis of his this decision. Sultan Said was well aware of the history of the first established Arab state by the hands of cruel of the era of darkness. Just before the rise of Islam, the administration of this region was in hands of Shah Manzer third. This ruler had a son named Qaboos. Qaboos was the leader of his father’s army against the rebels of tribe Ghussan. The poets of era of darkness praised this brave commander and his sharp blade which cut off many throats and altered the map of war.
Sultan Qaboos’s knowledge movement and intellectual awakening
In 1982, the construction of first university in country started through a Sultani order. The construction of this educational fort based on modern sort 50 km away from capital was given to a British company which had succeeded in tough competition. Lecture halls, libraries, hostels and other facilities, communication and forestations cost about 500 million American dollars.
This great educational city was completed in about 4 years on barren and desert land and on 9th November 1986, it was inaugurated by Sultan Qaboos himself. At this occasion he said that, “now when this university has taken the path of development of highly educated local man power, one of the responsibilities on it demands to strengthen those great traditions and values which are the true pride of our nation. It has to enlighten our Omani cultural heritage filled with examples of valor and dignity so that our new generation will get benefit from it and its path will be lightened by its light and it will get the strength and honor and as a result it will follow the prints of our serious efforts in the way of development and progress which will lead to help its own country. Moreover it will protect the grandiosity of our heritage and make sure such greatness by working hard.”
After four years the first batch of student got degree from Sultan Qaboos University. Sultan considered this the most important step in the modern history of Oman. So he prayed for the first batch of his sons as, “now when you have got education and training, you, by following the great eternal values in which we all believe, will take important and effective role in the development of modern Omani society, you will protect our heritage and the values of mutual help, sacrifice and kindness.
These are the values which we have from our ancestors as heritage, these are inculcated in our society, and our necessary part of our attitude and have taken the shape of pious qualities. These are the clothes of our social life and we have been following them from ages. From many past years, after the first batch got degree, university has greatly developed in every aspect. The rise in the quality of education is on the top of list. The number of students has increased many times. Remember that females here are 50%.
According to the 10 year record before 10 years, the ratio of male and female students in different colleges is as follow. In agriculture and navy studies, 844, in arts and social studies 1923, in economics and trade 2746, in engineering 1414, in health and care 759, in science 1373. Other than that the ministry of higher education funded 500 students to study abroad. Moreover there are 5000 such students who are on scholarship or study on their own. Due to the instant need of educated and technical worker to country and to lessen the expenses of studying abroad, government took a positive initiative towards university about its privatization as it remain bound to the high standard of education as told by Sultan in his speech on the inauguration of first government Omani university in 1986 as, “we are living in the age of knowledge and we are seeing its progress in every aspect of life daily. It is strengthening our believe that knowledge and serious action together are the way of competing challenges of this age and we will make this country developed by rebuilding it in the base of our Islamic and cultural heritage”. After that, there is a trend of Sultan making schools in private sectors in years. By this, not only the chances of choosing a school by personal choice and favor increased but also become an environment of positive competition with governmental schools and with this, new ways were opened to make the course pack and teaching method better. Thus there opens new doors to modernize the moral profession of teaching and with it, there sets a galaxy of industrial, trade, Islamic, training, medical and economics institutions with a great network of secondary level schools.
Sultan Qaboos bin Said was the man of excellent taste in literature and a man of vision. He had a great knowledge about the classics of eastern and western literature. This is not out of chance that in those days he might be reading Qaboos Nama (which is named after Kaikous Bin Sikander Bin Qaboos, the ruler of Jarjan). This is one of those famous and important books which were taught for the training and advice of rulers and Sultans. Qaboos Nama includes the story of a very pious Sultan of the Bano Ziyad family of South Persia (current Iran) of 10th century. The hand written script of this book is famous in 11th century in Persia. From Persia this book became famous in whole Middle East. As Oman is situated in the neighborhood and to have a rise in Gulf, both were friends and enemies at different times, both captured major regions from time to time. This start not only provided the condition to the public of both countries to meet and identify each other, but also created deep and strong relations between the two cultures.
Market’s economy Sultan Qaboos’s Vision 2020
In the introductory phase of secondary genesis, without the government no one was able to invest in projects such as basic structure, productive industries or electricity generation. Local private fund that existed was mainly consumed by matters such as trade, brokerage, construction of residential homes and fund’s market but now a big stratum of wealthy people has come into existence that is very rich and possesses qualities which can play an important role in economic arenas which are of country’s basic importance. Sultan Qaboos, on the basis of his clear insight about the future of the country, is strongly determined to construct market’s economy in Oman; such an economy where government plays role in discipline and supervision and owners of private sectors accept the responsibilities of productive sector. The successful start of Muscat Stock Exchange established in 1989 indicates that there are bright chances of the progress of capital market in Sultanate and circumstances are very supportive.
Sultan Qaboos Bin Said while assigning his preference for 21st century said, “Private sector, now more than ever in any stage, is demanded to speed up its efforts more and more. It should increase its speed, generate more and more confidence in itself and derive maximum benefit from bright investment possibilities in hopeful productive sectors. This would In-sha-Allah produce very positive and strong effects on our economy and social lives in the years to come. Other than this, it is important that this department has complete information about the worldly situations and occurrences resulting from free trade and investment. This situation demands the fact that our productive departments become bearer to administrative discipline and possess great qualities with respect to productive quality and sales proficiency so competition skill could be generated in them. This is also very important because we are about to seek participation in World Organization for Trade.”
Creating a feasible atmosphere for foreign investors was included among those important priorities which Sultan has assigned to government and law formulating departments who are engrossed in their work of making amendments in country laws. Apart from this, government itself also takes part in investing in bigger plans outside the country. For example, Oman is included as an important participant in the Qazvin Pipeline Group Company. This company was created to lie down the pipeline from the oil reservoirs in Nangaiz (Kazakhstan) to Black Sea’s Novorossiysk port located in Russia and manage its affairs. From the first five year plan (1976 to 1980), Sultan always tried to make sure the fact that realistic objectives should be completed at every step. President of Majlis-ul-Dola said that, “Plans also have the same condition; plans have been formulated in a flexible way. We know that we live in this world of dependence over one another. Where countries collectively affect each other! Planner should never consider him-self separate from the world so that it may not happen that he might feel that all what he wants is rightly attainable and whatever he wants he can bound with words on paper, from his pen. He must keep in view the matters effecting on regional and worldly level. Oman always had complete feelings and wisdom for these aspects. It always had the confidence that it has the required flexibility that it can contest any emergency situation. Therefore, whatever happens in the economic grounds of our nearby world, we keep an eye on it and because of our awareness we don’t face apprehension or worry. Oman’s economy is on its way to progress despite the economic disequilibrium that has occurred on worldly level from the last three to four years and speed of our progress is in natural condition, we do not take help of wrong facts and figures in this regard. We are progressing forward step by step and no step is stepping back. When situation is right to make a fast move then we pace up and when we suspect obstacles, we move cautiously but we never return back.
This can be said with surety that Oman’s economy has successfully dealt with the entire crisis till date though; success in this regard has been very arduous. This economy has been completely affected by the rise and fall of oil prices in the world market. In the last quarter of twentieth century, Oman was second in the whole world with regard to rate of economic progress. As per the facts and figures of World Bank that were published in the spring of 1999, from 1965 to 1997 Oman’s mediocre progress rate was 9.7%. Even in 21st century, most important objective of Oman’s economic Policy would be not just to depend on oil but to diversify the economic resources and increase and widen the role of private sector. Sultan Qaboos considers the development of this sector as a guarantee to the stable progress of the country. Accordingly, in the province of Zafaar while addressing the public he said, “Another point I want to direct attention to is that our country has chosen a very correct direction in encouraging the private sector.” This sector holds central importance in the economy of all countries of the world. Its power to compete and qualities to counter with obstacles provides a sound basis of progress both for the government and the public. The depreciated thinking of old times that was present in most countries of the world and according to which citizens of the country entrust all their belongings to the government and then relied on government to fulfill their needs, what happened to it. Organization of such countries disorganized. They had to face poverty and political and economic instability. There is no such country of the world which diminishes the role of individual and his importance neither individual can rely for every matter on government. This thing is also against the religious teachings. Our religion respects individual possession and arouses humans for acts and endless endeavors. When individual performs acts and becomes an owner of material goods then he provides means of employment for others. In this way, doors of sustenance are opened and Allah’s bounties spread through the individual and whole society. Then these blessings continue to multiply between them. Who has power he gives him power that he does not has. In this way destitute find means to work and they are able to rear their families.
Preferences for next 2 to 3 years have been analyzed in a document titled ‘Vision 2020’ and which has been approved by the Sultan. Owners of businesses would have to provide basic means of employment so that young generation of Oman could accept the responsibilities of life itself. Problem of providing the employment means (that is providing the people of Oman with means of employment and being free of other foreign workers) is directly related to instatement. In 1998, Sultan Qaboos during his annual tour of regions of country while addressing a large gathering of people Al-Batna stressed on employment means for young generation and said, “Act is worship. Our youth should never think twice while performing any responsibilities and never feel disgraced in doing any work.”
Contract department is a department in which a large quantity of foreign workers is working and apart from being a large sector, this sector has means of working in different occupations. It is among those departments which have a large margin for employing local workers. Work is work, there is no such thing which could be considered inappropriate on social basis. Since the time the people of Oman have been on this land, no doubt they have always been hard working. Who constructed homes in the past? Let it be trade or catching fish, who countered the waves of the sea? Were there foreign laborers here in the past? Not at all, foreign workers were ever here. Money that is transferred outside country through unimportant foreign workers is unimportant.
There are some such occupations which we need, whole world has this gait, and no country of the world can be completely free from the workers of the other country. Even that Omanis themselves go to different countries and work there. These matters since start are mutually substituted among all countries of the world. Allah himself has asked the humans to roam all the earth. There is nothing wrong in this but the quantity and demand of foreign workers should be within a limit. We are not dependent on them all. On this occasion Sultan stressed on such an upbringing of youth that their mind has no such wrong belief that some occupations are respectful while others are degraded. Importance is only reserved to act and responsible attitude.
Apart from all these steps, government is striving to improve the economic conditions of rural and far-flung areas so the negative trend of moving to urban areas could be stopped and those areas should not be emptied where crops are harvested. Keeping in view this aspect, government has invested a large amount in setting up such towns and village where all factors of luxuries in urban houses and civilization charms are present. Rural and urban areas have good results of same economic situations because in this way there is a significant reduction in movement of people working in rural areas to urban areas. Government always gives complete consideration to conventional agricultural tasks such as harvesting rearing animals and catching fish. There have also been changes at basic level in these fields. The practical evidence of this could be seen in the lives of people of Zafaar.