Dubai: Stay-home parameters and social-distancing norms have come with their own set of challenges and even as the world hits the ‘reset’ button to get used to the new ‘normal’, there are millions who are braving the ravages of a raging pandemic, day in and day out, just to make sure that life goes on with minimum disruptions.
Apart from the numerous bravehearts who are risking their well-being just to make sure that others are safe and secure — for instance, the health-care workers and law-enforcement personnel — there are others who, though not directly a part of the frontline, are nonetheless going that extra mile to ensure the well-being of others in these trying times.
One such person from the tertiary sectors is Abdullah Al Nasser — a Dubai-based Emirati lawyer for Araa Group of Advocates and Legal Consultants — for whom COVID-19, apart from the crisis that the pandemic has triggered, has also presented an opportunity to see life and its challenges through the prism of positivity.
Gulf News caught up with the legal expert, who shared his views on an unprecedented predicament in human history.
GULF NEWS: Have you been able to meet your clients regularly?
ABDULLAH AL NASSER: No, not on a regular basis and whatever meetings I have had have mostly been conducted remotely. But having said that, let me also tell you that there have been occasions when I have had to meet some of my clients physically, depending upon the seriousness of the case and all those meetings were strictly in adherence with social distancing and healthy-practice norms, such as wearing medical masks, that have been set by the authorities concerned.
How has this pandemic changed the way, if at all, you look at life? You have not been able to meet you clients the way you would like to and the way you were used to for all these years; the courts are closed, there are movement restrictions in place … so how are you coping with all this?
Let me explain this to you in some detail. You see, when the restrictions over the pandemic came into effect for the first time, we were all a worried lot. We felt that everything will be closed and life will come to a complete standstill. And we prepared ourselves for the worst. But after the first few days of movement restrictions and other related regulations, we were pleasantly surprised to see the way Dubai and the UAE took the challenges in their stride.
So much so, that at one point of time, it felt as if we in the UAE were used to this way of life for a long time! We were really surprised to see how the UAE was still managing to keep all its systems going. It felt as if someone had put this new system in place for a long time. For instance, when we were told that courts would have to function through remote-working, we felt that this would take a long time to implement.
But we were soon surprised to see the system working as planned. We initially had about two weeks of lockdown, followed by a partial easing of the restrictions, though even now we are primarily working remotely. But in all this, Dubai and the UAE have managed to keep the vital systems going without a hitch.
Once these lockdowns and movement restrictions are lifted completely, do you think life will be back to what it was earlier?
No I don’t think so. Even when the restrictions are lifted, I don’t see the world going back to its usual ways anytime soon. For instance, last week, I was asked whether I would like to go back to the practice of physical court hearings. I said very clearly that I do not want to go back to the court physically. So lot of things will change and we will get used to a new life, a new way of conducting business.
Taking a cue from what you are saying, can we assume that the coronavirus pandemic, apart from the scare that it has generated, has also taught us a few things about how we look at life?
I have been a lawyer for 13 years, but I have worked in a very different way over the last two months. Obviously this has had an impact on the way one lives and conducts business. In fact, this has had an impact on everyone all over the world. But for someone who is wise and who has a vision, the outcome of all these restrictions will be quite different. So far as Dubai and the UAE are concerned, I think we are much ahead of many other places around the world in getting used to this new way of life.
Is there anyone who inspires you? Anyone who keeps you encouraged to meet the challenges?
The biggest source of encouragement is His Highness Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. He is a true visionary. He could see that we may get into a scenario where we may be required to work very differently from the way we have been working for so long.
For instance, the infrastructure for remote working for courts and the judiciary was already in place in Dubai, though it was never used like the way it is being used now. With the coronavirus crisis, we have put that system into full use and this has been made possible because of Shaikh Mohammed. He wants to make life better for all of us.