A national loss

The demise of His Highness Shaikh Saqr bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, marks the end of an era for the emirate.

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Published: Thu 28 Oct 2010, 10:27 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 1:49 PM

In Shaikh Saqr’s death, the United Arab Emirates has lost a visionary leader and, moreover, a man who selflessly worked and lived among the masses. The Ras Al Khaimah ruler, who breathed his last at 90, was the world’s oldest reigning monarch and the last of the UAE’s founding fathers. Though he had not been keeping good health for some time, he was closely involved in the day-to-day affairs of the state. His services will long be remembered for not only acceding his emirate to the UAE in 1972, but also helping build it from a scattered landmass to a modern civic entity.

Shaikh Saqr was an able ruler and a person who believed in hearing out what his subjects had to say. His vision to get going led him to overcome the host of internal and external strifes that the conclave had nursed some 60 years ago. Undoubtedly, he made it a point to uplift the backward emirate from the abyss of poverty to a modern and self-sustaining enterprise. His success was in investing in the inevitable, i.e., education, infrastructure and community welfare. With a strong sense of duty and a belief that he could make a difference, he did accomplish a wonder by raising a grazing pasture of land to all new heights of glory. The care and compassion he showed was equally responded by the people who held him in the highest esteem, and valued his decisions. He was clearly an instinctual man, and one who had the wisdom and courage to stand tall and get counted. Yet he was a man of few words, and one who preferred to be remembered as an evolutionist.

The UAE has officially announced a week of mourning, during which flags will fly at half-mast. A subdued atmosphere and feeling of sadness are all around with the news of his passing away. Born on April 9, 1918, he became the Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah on July 17, 1948. Shaikh Saqr belonged to Al Qassimi dynasty that ruled the northern part of the Greater Oman region since the early 18th century.

He received his education in an Islamic environment at the hands of his industrious father, Shaikh Mohammed bin Salim. He was well known as a generous and prudent man who was well-versed in tribal affairs. The kind and gentle Shaikh is no more with us, but his services and affection for the people will always live on.

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