A ruler who put his country first

Citizens and residents share their cherished memories of late His Majesty Sultan Qaboos.

Architect of Oman’s modernisation

By Mohamed Abdullah Mohamed al Khonji

Chairman, United Finance Company

As we pay homage to our beloved Sultan Qaboos on his first death anniversary, we recall with profoundly grateful hearts his tremendous and longstanding leadership as the Architect of Oman’s blessed Renaissance. During his five-decade-long reign, he laid the foundations for the growth of a strong and prosperous country that today stands justifiably proud among the GCC and other developed countries.

A champion of peace and goodwill, he was also acclaimed internationally for his espousal of cooperation and reconciliation.

In passing on the baton of leadership to his chosen and worthy successor His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik, the late Sultan Qaboos has ensured that his formidable legacy will continue to be a force for good for the nation and its people.

Ensuring this continuity between the era of the late Sultan and the new reign of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik is Vision 2040 – a blueprint for development that bridges the two eras. In his capacity as Chairman of the 2040 Vision Committee, His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik oversaw the formulation of this roadmap. Thus, it is only fitting that the goals set out in this long-term strategy are being crystallised under his astute leadership.

Taking a cue from the 2040 Vision, we are proud to have embraced many of these pillars, notably in support of youth entrepreneurship, SME development, local community advancement and Omanisation. We applaud His Majesty’s government on the adoption of 2040 Vision and are heartened by its commitment to strengthening the role of the private sector in serving as a true partner in national development.

 

Visionary of the masterpiece

Yusuf Nalwala

Managing Director of Al Ansari Group of Companies and Partner

A leader is revered by the legacy he leaves behind him. For a ruler, the legacy is the development of the nation and its people. No leader in recent times has done so much for his country as late Sultan Qaboos (may Allah be pleased with him) has done for Oman and its people.

From a very primitive country plunged into medieval darkness, Sultan Qaboos groomed up Oman to a vibrant, dynamic, and modern state with finest infrastructure -with an excellent network of world-class roads, ports, airports, educational institutes, religious and cultural centers, and health care facilities. All these in a short period of 50 years!

Sultan Qaboos’ vision and ambition to transform Oman are evident in his promoting industries tourism, mining, fisheries, agriculture, and several projects like industrial estates, vocational centres, polyclinics, hospitals, schools for locals, and community schools for expatriates to retain their legacy and heritage, colleges for engineering, medicine, business and commerce across the country.

If one carefully reflects, it would register that he just did not build any building or a structure. He invested in the best talent to create the finest piece of architecture, something that would immortalise its purpose, inspire people, and retain the rich legacy of Oman. Thus any institutional building built by him was of the best in its class, leaving an unforgettable impression on its viewers.

Al Bustan Hotel, a hotel that brought Oman on the tourism map, would attract tourist to visit Oman only for its architectural beauty, Grand Mosque had its grandeur in its stonework, marble and prayer carpet – once claimed to be the largest single piece carpet in the world, Sultan Qaboos University built with the passion of providing the finest educational facilities, Opera House another piece of art that would promote music and culture,

Royal Hospital a hospital that offered five-star facilities and medical equipment to address the health requirement – are just a few names of the iconic world-class architectural masterpiece that encompass every aspect of human development for its refinement and upliftment.

What is amazing is that he provided not only the materialistic aspects of life in a comprehensive manner to the country and his people, but also transformed the mindset of the citizen to be educationally, technically, and commercially inclined. He created the desire and hunger in the youth to excel in all the spheres of modern civilisation.

Today’s youth in Oman has ambition, aspirations to grow and have already participated in the development of modern Oman. All that with able governance to administer the management in its finest form retaining the country’s heritage of hospitality. Today, every expatriate enjoys the safety of their family as nowhere else in the world.

All these could be achieved because he was truly a visionary leader. He believed in hard work, he had the care and welfare for his people at heart, and was determined to make this country march into a glorious nation. All that reflected clearly in his speech in the early stage of the Renaissance on the occasion of the 5th National day in 1975.

Sultan Qaboos had proclaimed: “We promise to double our efforts and continue the hard work for a new tomorrow which shines with every morning each day of the 6th year in our glorious march towards a happy future.”

 

A far-sighted leader

Dr Syed Ahsan Jamil

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Dhofar University, Salalah

Paying tribute to late HM Sultan Qaboos on his first death anniversary is akin to lighting a lamp in the glaring sun. Very few countries are blessed with leaders who are visionary, dedicated, and compassionate towards the nation and its citizens. Blessed are people who are led by compassionate and visionary leadership.

Late Sultan Qaboos was one of those rare leaders of this era who are and will be known for leading their countries from darkness to prosperity, peace and development.

His insight and acumen to deal with complex problems, be it national or regional and his constant pursuit for peace and prosperity along with a magnanimous approach towards citizens, expatriates, neighbours and the world at large made him a very loving personality.

Revered as the father of the nation, he commanded not only immense respect but unlimited and unconditional love for all his citizens, an unparalleled example of this era and for future times to come.

His vision for Oman and his strong and resilient determination to build Oman as a developed and modern country wherein all who come not only to live together in complete harmony, peace and happiness but also contribute equally towards the progress of the nation. Today Oman stands out as one of the most peaceful countries, free from any violence and terrorism in the whole world.

For expatriates like me, I never felt as if I am living in a foreign land as love, affection and happiness that all expatriates experience is unique and outstanding in this country.

This is all made possible due to the astute leadership and compassion of late Sultan Qaboos. The impact that he has left on all of us is deep and will keep reminding us continually of his greatness and compassion.

I pay my heartfelt tribute to revered Sultan Qaboos and pray to the almighty to give him a high place in heaven and reaffirm my loyalty to His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik’s government.

 

Salute to the visionary

By Shapoor Mistry

Chairman, Shapoorji Pallonji Group

Oman’s infrastructure and urban transformation remain one of the most striking aspects of the country’s development over the last five decades and serve as an important underpinning of its future growth. The strides that the country made under the Late Sultan Qaboos since 1970 have been transformative.

As business partners of the nation, we have witnessed the growth of the nation and development envisioned by Sultan Qaboos.

Under his wise leadership the country made extensive development campaigns building an ultra-modern infrastructure including highways, institutions, places of religious importance, industrial complexes, schools, hospitals, iconic landmarks, and many others that have set the foundation for an even greater and impressive future.

For us, the march started in 1971. We have undertaken many iconic projects and the group has been an integral part of Oman’s economic and social renaissance journey.

The business community in Oman is grateful to Sultan Qaboos for his business-friendly policies and regulations which created not only multiple opportunities but also provided ease of working in the Sultanate. Oman has been, and remains, one of the best places to do business and is a home away from home for most of our employees.

Relying on the virtues of wisdom and vision, Sultan Qaboos steered Oman towards stability and prosperity, ensuring a brighter, more hopeful future for Oman.

It is a privilege to be a part of the vision of Sultan Qaboos and honour his legacy. We are committed to being a strong partner in the infrastructure growth of the Sultanate of Oman.

 

A vision aimed at Oman’s extraordinary growth

By Bipin Kapur

BDO Managing Partner

This anniversary milestone provides an opportunity to pay tribute to the great leader who shaped the country in a big way. BDO Oman, one of the leading professional services firms providing industry focused audit, tax and advisory services, has been operating in Oman since 1976, not long after the birth of the Blessed Renaissance.

As the architect of the Blessed Renaissance, Sultan Qaboos steered the country’s evolution into the oasis of tranquility and social harmony that it is today. His sagacious domestic and foreign policies, coupled with his signature benign leadership, underpinned Oman’s growth for the past five decades.

Sultan Qaboos’ rich legacy will continue to bestow rich dividends on the citizens of Oman and the expatriate residents of this blessed homeland for decades to come. Under the current leadership of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik, this legacy will only blossom and burgeon.

To underpin the future economic development of the country, His Majesty’s government has enacted an array of laws and statutes, alongside initiatives championing, among other things, enhanced corporate governance, accountability, entrepreneurship and SME development. These bode well for efforts to support Oman’s economic recovery and eventual prosperity. Citizens and residents alike feel gratified and blessed to have a strong and effective leader at the helm of national affairs amid the challenges posed by the global economic crunch and pandemic.

 

Will be in our hearts forever

Dinkar Kishor

Acting General Manager, Sharakah

On the first death anniversary of our beloved leader Sultan Qaboos, we continue to fondly remember the noble soul and lament the irreparable loss that happened a year ago! He is rightly considered as the father of the nation, a true statesman and visionary leader under whose able leadership we witnessed the renaissance of the Sultanate. The growth and development in all spheres have been amazing, nothing less than a dream being achieved in five decades.

Under his able leadership, we have seen Oman becoming a country of traditions and modern sensibilities. We have the best of infrastructure, be it is the road, telecom, IT, electricity and water. At the same time the country’s culture, tradition, and architectural designs are preserved at their best and not influenced by other cultures or the West.

Over the years, Oman has garnered many laurels and accolades. Oman was ranked 58 among 140 countries in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) 2019 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index. Oman has been ranked the fifth safest country in the world, according to the global crime index, while the capital Muscat also figures among the cities with the lowest crime rates. Listing out the best countries to visit in 2019, the WEF index said Oman could be rated highly for its reliable police force (rank 5), low homicide rates (19), and low risk of terrorism with ‘0’ score, 9th consecutive year. The surest way for a country to benefit from its tourist industry is to invest in infrastructure which keeps the needs of the local population as well as visitors in mind and that is what Oman is all about. All these achievements are credited to the able leadership of our late leader.

Everything stated above works at a macro level and on the micro-level where I am directly involved. To conclude, more on a personal note, I feel very comfortable and find Oman to be the best country to work, live, and prosper. It is home to my children who have lived and grown here and always want to come back to Oman and consider it as their own country.

We all pray may he live in peace and his blessings are always bestowed upon this blessed land.

 

An achiever and a peacemaker

Gisela Vogler-Fiesser

German author living and writing in the UK. One of her books: ‘Dhofar’s Nomads.How Oman’s Renaissance Changed a Way of Life Forever’

It was a sad epoch-ending moment when one year ago the news broke of the passing of the then HM Sultan Qaboos. It was followed by an outpouring of grief among Omanis, who looked up to their Sultan as the ‘Father of Nation’. After nearly fifty years as Oman’s popular ruler, Sultan Qaboos left a profound legacy. Thanks to the smooth transition to, His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik, the prosperity and well-being of the country is secured.

Half a century earlier Oman was a stagnant and isolated country. In 1970, Qaboos’ accession to the throne initiated the ‘Omani Renaissance’, a socio-economic, educational and cultural undertaking that opened the country to the wider world, developing it, over time, to a modern comparative level.

The transition of Oman’s society was a blessing and a gift. Education and healthcare, the essential pillars of the young Sultan’s vision, were quickly implemented. The road network was rapidly expanded and the foundations of a modern infrastructure set in place.

The staggering changes were facilitated by an immensely supportive Omani population, energised by the single-minded commitment of their ruler. Unusually for a conservative Arab society, women were invited to participate in civic affairs and were promoted to positions of influence. With time the sparsely populated nation of Oman was reshaped, transformed into a stable and prosperous country with a rising standard of living.

Sultan Qaboos’ crowning political achievement was to unify his highly traditional homeland and develop it into a modern state. Furthermore, he opened up the third largest country on the Arabian Peninsula to the outside world and was noted for his role as a mediator and negotiator both in the volatile Middle East region and also more widely, internationally.

My work has been focused on the significant changes affecting the life of the pastoral people of Dhofar. As a consequence of the breakdown of their tribal framework, the nomadic way of life, previously unchanged for generations, gradually had to adapt in the decades that followed. An ancient pastoralist way of life was modernised and the nomadic population was integrated into Oman’s new and modern society, while ever maintaining close links to their traditional roots.

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