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Shaikh Abdullah thanks traffic cops for not sparing him

Mustafa Al Zarooni / 20 December 2012

Most people are less than grateful when reprimanded by the police, but not Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who has proven that he is as fallible as the rest of the population.

Shaikh Abdullah was pulled over by the police for talking on the phone while driving along an Abu Dhabi street recently —  despite being one of the people to champion the idea of banning people from that very act.

But not being chagrined by the incident, Shaikh Abdullah broadcast the fact and congratulated the police for their actions. “I was pulled over by the Abu Dhabi Police patrol who drew my attention to the fact that I was using the telephone while driving in the Capital’s street on Wednesday,” Shaikh Abdullah tweeted.

He was keen on extending his thanks to the Abu Dhabi law enforcement agents for doing their duty regardless of the circumstances.

On his official Twitter account he wrote: “Police drew my attention when I was behind the wheel and using the phone.... Thank you, Abu Dhabi Police.”

And while such a rebuke and public confession may be unthinkable from other politicians around the world, Emirati citizens are not surprised by the outcome.

Emirati Abdullah Al Jazeeri said there was “nothing unusual in the matter”.

“The sons of the late Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founder of this country, must have some successors who know and practically follow the wise saying ‘He who is modest before Allah, will be upgraded’, to some extent similar to the English proverb, ‘If you are a humble person, God will rejoice in your presence’.”

He said Shaikh Abdullah’s actions were a confirmation of the principle, ‘No one is above the law’.

UAE citizens were aware of the many social initiatives Shaikh Abdullah had launched and supported, among which was not to talk on the phone while driving, he said.

Jumaa Hibaish, another Emirati, said her fellow citizens expected everyone to be equal before the law. The government and the people are very close to each other, which boosted interaction and fraternity between the two, she said.

Meanwhile, fellow Emirati Omar Darwaish said these practices were not strange in UAE society, despite some people expressing surprise when Shaikh Abdullah broadcast the incident on his Twitter account because of his standing as the son of the late Shaikh Zayed and the brother of the President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The practice to have no one above the law was good, and the police should be able to pull over anyone regardless of who they are and what the offence was, and issue a ticket, he said.

“In the end, the police are playing their role in protecting the law and the safety of people, and talking on the phone while driving is a serious offence, and could cause many traffic accidents,” he added.

Shaikh Abdullah’s tweet has seen big response from the Arab world, especially those in the GCC who were amazed that Shaikh Abdullah stopped when asked by the traffic policeman.

There was a consensus among those who posted their views on Twitter that this matter would not happen in many Arab countries.


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