Maldives crisis: President Gayoom sends envoys to 'friendly nations', excludes India

On Monday, a state of emergency was declared by President Gayoom in Maldives for a period of 15 days, deepening the political crisis in the Indian Ocean nation.

Maldives crisis: President Gayoom sends envoys to 'friendly nations', excludes India

MALE: Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Gayoom on Wednesday sent his special envoys to three 'friendly nations' - China, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, amid a political crisis brewing in the nation.

In a statement, Yameen's Presidential Office said, "Members of the Administration's Cabinet, on the direction of President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, will visit friendly nations of the Maldives and provide updates on the current situation."

On Wednesday, the Minister of Economic Development, Mohamed Saeed, departed for China and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Mohamed Asim, went to Pakistan, while on Thursday, the Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture, Dr Mohamed Shainee departed for Saudi Arabia.

On Monday, a state of emergency was declared by President Gayoom in Maldives for a period of 15 days, deepening the political crisis in the Indian Ocean nation.

The move gives sweeping powers to security forces to arrest and detain suspects and comes amid a tense standoff between the Supreme Court and the government.

"All basic rights have been suspended. Security forces have sweeping powers to arrest and search," Member of Parliament, Eva Abdulla had said.

Following this, Indian Ministry of External Affairs had expressed concerns over the political crisis prevailing in Maldives. "Prevailing political developments in Maldives and resultant law and order situation is a matter of concern for GoI.  Indian nationals are advised to defer all non-essential travels to Male and other atolls until further notice," the ministry had said.

MEA had further said, "Indian expatriates in Maldives are also alerted to the need for heightened security awareness, and urged to exercise due caution in public and avoid public gatherings."

The MEA had also issued an advisory for the Indian Nationals traveling to Maldives. The ministry's official spokesperson Raveesh Kumar took to Twitter saying, "Indian nationals are advised to defer all non-essential travel to Male and other atolls untill further notice. Detailed travel advisory at http://mymea.in/cx4"

"The prevailing political developments in Maldives and the resultant law and order situation is a matter of concern for the Government of India. Indian nationals are, therefore, advised to defer all non-essential travels to Male and other atolls until further notice. Indian expatriates in Maldives are also alerted to the need for heightened security awareness, and urged to exercise due caution in public and avoid public gatherings," the advisory had read.

Massive protests had erupted after President Gayoom refused to follow the Supreme Court's ruling to release the key political prisoners and reinstate the 12 MPs.

On February 1, the Supreme Court had ruled that all politicians opposed to President Gayoom, including Nasheed, should be released. It had further said that their trials were "politically influenced".

The high-profile prisoners also include self-exiled former President Mohamed Nasheed and former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb.

The government has so far refused to implement the order, saying it had concerns about releasing those who were convicted for "terrorism, graft, embezzlement and treason".

Nasheed, the country's first democratically elected leader, took office in 2008. He was ousted in a coup in February 2012.

The country has seen political unrest since he was sentenced to 13 years in jail in 2015 on terrorism charges. He was given political asylum in the UK in 2016.

(With ANI inputs)

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