His Excellency Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the Foreign Minister of Pakistan was accorded a thunderous welcome as he walked into the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex where over 1,000 citizens of all ages had packed the venue and had been anxiously awaiting the Foreign Minister’s arrival.

The Minister was received with ‘Guard of Honor’. Quranic verses were recited by Ayesha, Shaheen and Syedah Massirah, 1st & 3rd in Sultan Qaboos Qirat Competitions 2017 & 2018 respectively, leaving behind 5000 participants on each occasion whereas Fatima Asif Shakeel won the competition in 2018.

Beacon House School Band performed National Anthem with crowd singing along with national fervor. The Hon’ble Minister presented ‘Certificates of Appreciation’ to 60 Pakistanis and Omanis for Services to Community, Pak-Oman Friendship, Tourism, Sports, Arts, Literature, Media and Academic Excellence.

Folklore troupe’ from Pakistan School Muscat with children aged 7-8, captivated the audience with dances to tunes originating from 4 provinces of Pakistan. Gilgit Baltistan dance was performed by two members of Sultan Qaboos University.

In his address, the Foreign Minister expressed pride over presence of 275,000 Pakistanis in Oman and their impressive participation in the mega event. He shared contours of welfare projects approved by Prime Minister Imran Khan for 9 million expats including, ‘Dollar Savings Bonds’ with yields at 6.75% for as low as $5000 deposits and ‘Visa on Arrival’ for 50 countries including Oman. He launched through his address, initiatives namely “Vacation 2020”, urging overseas Pakistanis to spend their 2020 Vacations in Pakistan and called for global celebrations of “Pakistan@80” to commemorate Lahore Resolution of 1940.

Recalling the appreciation from Omani leadership for Pakistani diaspora towards development of Oman, the Minister thanked the community and added that both sides had concurred to convert historical relations into ‘Strategic Partnership’ for mutual strength and benefit with their peoples at the very core of the strategy. Ambassador remarked that 15,000 Omanis had visited Pakistan in 2018 whereas during last 3 years remittances have averaged a record $750mn per annum.

Large sections of audience had travelled from outside Muscat including Burami (6 hrs), Sur, Nizwah, Sohar, Swaiq, Ibri and Ibra to participate in the historic and unprecedented Event which was telecast LIVE via Facebook pages of ‘Pakistan Social Club’, ‘Pakistan School System’ and ‘Pakistan Community Oman’.

Pakistan Embassy – Muscat,
January 31, 2019.

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