Accusing President Abdulla Yameen of corruption and violating of civil rights, Adhaalath Party (AP) President Sheikh Imran Abdulla has said the time has come for the religious party to stand up for the Maldives.
“I believe now is the time for the people who value our nation’s freedom and peace to stand up for the country. Maldives is not on the right track. There is fear amongst the people. We should stand up for them,” he said on Villa TV’s Fasmanzaru programme last night.
The AP continues to hold the Islamic Affairs Ministry in Yameen’s cabinet, despite its ally Jumhooree Party’s (JP) decision to dissolve a coalition with the ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM).
The AP was given the portfolio after JP’s Gasim Ibrahim decided to back Yameen during the second round of the 2013 presidential polls. The religious conservative party had backed Gasim in the first round.
“Adhaalath Party was part of the government coalition advocating for justice, for the rights of the people and to end corruption. We stand for ensuring happiness for the people of our nation. The government is straying from this vision. So in my opinion, Adhaalath Party should fulfill their responsibility as they have done before,” he said, referring to the AP’s key role in ousting former President Mohamed Nasheed in February 2012.
The AP had backed a mass demonstration in 2011 accusing Nasheed of destroying Islam and undermining sovereignty. The party later took part in the 22 days of serial protests that led to a police and military mutiny on February 7, 2012, forcing Nasheed to resign.
Nasheed and Yameen’s former Defense Minister Mohamed Nazim are currently in police custody, facing charges of terrorism and importing illegal weapons, respectively.
Despite having fiercely criticized Nasheed before, Imran last night said he is disappointed by the lack of due process in Nasheed’s trial.
“Even Nasheed should get a fair trial,” he said, and accused the government of framing Nazim.
“We can see the government violating individual rights of the people. We can see corruption within the government in broad daylight. These are the problems that the people are concerned with now,” he added.
Despite the AP’s earlier reluctance to join the coalition JP had formed with Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) in February, Imran insisted that now is the time to stand up for freedom and peace.
The AP and JP had backed Nasheed in the 2008 presidential polls against former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. However, the coalition dissolved within a year, and the then-opposition questioned the legality of Nasheed’s government.
The JP’s coalition with Yameen’s PPM had similarly broken down, Imran noted last night, and accused the government of increased authoritarianism.
Imran’s statements came after a two-hour meeting with President Yameen at the President’s Office on Tuesday.
In a tweet following yesterday’s meeting, Imran assured that the Adhaalath Party would not make a “financial deal”.
“I am certain before and now as well that Nazim was framed,” he tweeted.
In previous tweets, Imran said former President Gayoom should be “ashamed” of the government’s treatment of Gasim as the JP leader had decided to back President Yameen in the 2013 presidential election run-off after Gayoom “pleaded” with Gasim.
After Monday’s presidential address – delivered in the face of protests by opposition MPs – Imran tweeted: “President Yameen is now feeling the bitterness of dissolving of the coalition that brought [him] to power.”
A day before Imran tweeted: “Adhaalath Party will come out to protest when there’s no other way.”