The Maldives Extends the State of Emergency Ignoring India’s Call

President Abdullah Yameen. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
President Abdullah Yameen. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Maldives’ parliament has extended the state of emergency by 30 days. The opposition party of the Maldivian parliament has condemned the move as illegal.

The Maldivian President Abdullah Yameen announced a state of emergency on February 5 for 15 days which was due to end except that the Maldivian parliament, boycotted by the opposition, approved the extension of emergency for a month more.

The Maldives has been going through an intense political crisis since the country’s Supreme Court ordered the release of the political prisoners including the former President Mohammed Nasheed and reinstated some seats of the parliament resulting in the opposition reappearing as the major party.

The top court of the Maldives freed the current President’s jailed opponents erupting an escalation of tensions in the Maldivian political spectrum.

The government, although initially announced to comply with the court ruling, refused to follow the Court order.

The Maldivian military, obedient to President Yameen, sealed off the parliament of the country and arrested two opposition lawmakers from the airport.

The arrested opposition MPs landed in the Maldives from an exile following a court order that reinstated their seats in the parliament.

The ruling government of the Maldives raised ‘concern’ about freeing the political leaders convicted of “terrorism, bomb attacks, corruption, embezzlement, and fraud.”

The Maldives has been going through political unrest since 2015 when the former President Nasheed was convicted guilty of terrorism charges.

The international community condemned Nasheed’s guilty verdict. He was later given political asylum in the United Kingdom.

The Maldivian government fired the police commissioner Ahmed Akif after the country’s police announced on Twitter that it would enforce the Supreme Court ruling.

The Maldivian Attorney General Mohamed Anil announced the dismissal of the police commissioner in a late-night press conference because he said Akif was ‘uncontactable following the Supreme Court verdict.’

The opposition said they believe the police commissioner was fired because President Yameen was disheartened with the commissioner following the police’s tweet to comply with the Supreme Court verdict.

The Maldivian government, in its bid to secure the President Yameen’s tenure, arrested the Supreme Court judges including the chief judge in the following days to forcefully reverse the court rulings about the Maldivian opposition leaders.

The President’s half estranged half-brother former President Mr. Maumoon Abdul Gayoom who sided with the opposition in the ongoing crisis was also arrested.

The Tuesday move to extend the state of emergency has been condemned by the opposition.

The Maldivian speaker Abdullah Maseeh, however, said the “parliamentary regulations do not require the constitutionally mandated quorum to extend a state of emergency.”

The leader of the Maldivian opposition in the parliament Mr. Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said in a statement, “President Yameen failed to muster the required number of votes to pass his emergency legislation. And so Yameen has ratified and extended the emergency illegally.

“President Yameen has, in effect, hijacked the entire state and is ruling the Maldives like a military dictator.”

Meanwhile, the Indian foreign ministry urged the Maldivian President against the extension of the state of emergency. “It is our expectation that the Government of Maldives will not be seeking an extension of the State of Emergency so that the political process in the Maldives can resume with immediate effect,” the Indian foreign ministry statement reads.

The opposition leader of Maldives Mr. Nasheed who is now in exile in Sri Lanka urged India to ‘physically intervene’ in the Maldives.

Later, India said it has no such plans to intervene in the political scenario of the Maldives.

With the rising influence of  China in the Maldives, a country long been under Indian influence, the region has now turned into a muscle testing ground for both the Indian and the Chinese sides.

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