Behind the paradise crisis

(Zubair Ameer, Islamabad)

The Republic of Maldives, is a country consists of various islands, located in the Indian Ocean in the south Asian continent in the Arabian Sea. It was undergoing political instability since long but now the situation is uncontrollable. State of emergency declared by President Yameen for 15 days was a turning point in the political history of Maldives. The crisis were triggered by a surprising decision of the Supreme Court of Maldives to release a former President and eight other leaders who were sent behind the bars because of the charges of corruption. The Court also ordered the reinstatement of 12 lawmakers who had been stripped off from their parliamentary seats by Yameen’s party for defecting last year as they joined Opposition party. Supreme Court’s verdict; saying their removal was unconstitutional and illegitimate. This reinstatement of the dozen legislators, would cause Yameen’s party to lose its majority in the 85-members Parliament. Maldives’s President refused the Court ruling of releasing the subject prisoners and declared an emergency instead. Maldives’s security forces, loyal to the President, stormed the Supreme Court and arrested the Chief justice. The clampdown against Nasheed’s party, the present Opposition party of Maldives actually started in 2012 when he was condemned for being involved in corruption. Thus, in 2013’s elections, Yameen emerged as a hero and was elected as President. Another reason for electing him by the people was his reservations for the growing Indian influence through investment in Maldives. In recent years, Yameen has seemingly aligned the Maldives closer to China by signing up for China’s ambitious Maritime Silk Route Project that aims to connect Asia and Africa through the Indian Ocean with a series of ports and other infrastructural projects for the sake of the promotion of trade. In December 2017, Maldives signed a trade agreement with China. India has obvious resentment for that. Yameen later sent his Foreign Minister to New Delhi to clear the air and reset ties. Maldives became the second country in South Asia after Pakistan which is the first one to enter into FTA (Free Trade Agreement) with China. Consequently, to control the situation and to bring Nasheed back to power, Opposition leaders have urged India to intervene and send its military. India also wants to set a puppet government in Maldives that should be pro-India and anti-China. India, being the biggest country of South Asia, is not entitled to influence other countries of the region. India claims to be super power in South Asia and believes that all the countries in this region are inherit possession of India. No neighboring country, including China and Pakistan, are safe from the future possibility of brutality of India over the cost benefit effects of CPEC in general and of Kashmir issue in particular for India. Embattled president has sent envoys to China, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia to brief them on political crises in Indian Ocean. Yameen left out key regional power India which along with its allies condemned emergency. Here is a point on which we need to ponder upon and that is, why Yameen has not sent envoy to India? Why has Yameen asked for help from China, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia? The answer to these questions is that India is fearful of coalition between Maldives and China because of its resultant development and success in certain fields. Maldives is strategically important for India thus India does not want to lose control over it. It seems like Yameen is not in the state to trust anyone especially India. The situation may deteriorate even further as Yameen is reluctant to meet UN diplomats and has sent diplomats to the countries who have been friendly since long. This whole crises can be a plan to stop China’s increasing influence pervasively within subcontinent and overseas. In this situation Pakistan and China must play their part to save another Muslim country from the unreliable India. The crisis is seen as the biggest threat to President Yameen’s control over the Maldives since he assumed power.

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