Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 6 April 2020

Sultan Haitham pardons prisoners in Oman

The new sultan is following in the footsteps of the late Sultan Qaboos who ruled the country for half a century

Oman’s Sultan Haitham bin Tariq has pardoned 282 prisoners to mark the end of 40 days morning for the late Sultan Qaboos bin Said.

Sultan Qaboos bin Said, who ruled Oman for five decades, died on January 10, 2020. The official mourning period ended on Wednesday and the prisoners will be released with immediate effect, state news outlets reported.

Analysts said Sultan Haitham is emulating the late Sultan Qaboos, who regularly pardoned prisoners serving different sentences in prison.

“Sultan Haitham is keen to be seen as following in the footsteps of the late Sultan Qaboos bin Said. From now on, we will see him do more such things to assure people that he is keeping up the legacy left behind by Sultan Qaboos,” Qais Al-Jaddawi, a political analyst and freelance journalist, told The National.

Last week, Sultan Haitham visited Al Shomoukh Palace in the Manah, a royal camp set up by Sultan Qaboos in the 1990s to meet local dignitaries in the Dakhliya Region. “It is a strategic visit by Sultan Haitham to Al Shomoukh Palace. The late Sultan visited it a lot since he established it in 1994. Why is it strategic? Because the Dakhliya Region was the area that opposed Sultan Qaboos’ father reign in the 1940s and 50s,” Al-Jaddawi said.

“The people in those days believed that the Imam should rule the country not a Sultan. Sultan Qaboos reconciled with them when he took over as the Sultan of Oman from his father in 1970, but it was important that he should pay attention to the region all the time. It worked well for Sultan Qaboos because the people of Dakhliya embraced him throughout his rule. It is also important, Sultan Haitham, as a new Sultan, should do the same,” he added.

In previous centuries, Oman was ruled by Imams, rulers appointed by tribal leaders before the present Al-Said dynasty took power in 1806. But insurgencies from the Dakhaliya towns continued until 1970 when Sultan Qaboos took the throne.

But the biggest challenge for Sultan Haitham will be to give the local economy the boost it needs. Oman’s economy has suffered a series of budget deficits since 2015 when oil prices plummeted from $120 per barrel to about $60 today.

Updated: February 23, 2020 06:11 PM

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