Adhaalath-aligned MP Ibrahim Muthalib has called in parliament for former President Mohamed Nasheed’s Special Envoy, Ibrahim Hussain Zaki, to be “hanged to death” as a “traitor to the Maldives”.
Speaking in the parliamentary chamber on November 26, Muthalib called for the arrest of Zaki, claiming that “traitors have to be killed” else they will “destroy the country”.
Muthalib’s comments follow those made by Adhaalath Party Leader Sheik Imran at the ‘GMR go home’ rally earlier this month.
Speaking at the rally, Sheik Imran reportedly stated that Zaki would “leave both worlds” on the day GMR is “chased out of the country”.
The latest threat comes after Zaki warned India that rising fundamentalism in the Maldives threatened the country’s economic interests.
Zaki told reporters that the attack on the GMR contract is “an Islamic fundamentalist issue”, adding: “When Islamic fundamentalism takes over the country, if the Lashkar-e-Taiba can take over the country, then I have no choice [but to call in forces from India].”
Zaki previously claimed that many top figures within the Adhaalath Party were educated in Pakistan and draw their philosophy from the hard line Salafist form of Islam.
Indian media reported on Thursday that: “Zaki, 67, a former minister in successive Maldivian governments headed by former presidents Maumoon Gayoom and [Mohamed] Nasheed, said he would have called for Indian forces to protect the multi-million-dollar investment by Indian infrastructure firm GMR Group.”
India’s Daily News & Analysis reported Zaki as saying that fundamentalists in the Maldives “have links with terror group Lashkar-e-Toiba” and warned that if Islamic fundamentalism goes unchecked the country could turn into a terror state that threatens Indian security.
Muthalib alleged that Zaki’s motivation to defend the GMR deal came from fear of having to spend “a long time in jail” or face “a death sentence” as an investigation would prove that he had accepted “large amounts of money” as bribes from the Indian company.
“Honourable Speaker, these are traitors to the nation. They have to be killed. If they are not killed and left to live, the country will be ruined. They will destroy the country,” Muttalib said, as recorded in parliament’s minutes.
“Therefore, I am calling on the Maldivian government one more time to arrest Ibrahim Hussain Zaki as quickly as possible and, after conducting a trial against him, to hang him to death as a traitor the the Maldives.”
MP Muthalib further alleged that Zaki was “the chief architect” of 1988 failed coup attempt and called on the government to launch an investigation into his alleged involvement.
However, the article in which Zaki was quoted, notes that he is “known in India as the man who telephoned then Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi to seek help when Gayoom was threatened by a coup in 1988”.
Muhthalib stated that Zaki was “once again attempting to have Malabars invade the country”. He also called on the government to strip Zaki of the title of honour previously given to him by the state.
Following the remarks, Speaker Abdulla Shahid said calling for a person’s death in the Majlis chamber was “unacceptable.”
Zaki’s remarks “threat to national security”: Defence Ministry
In a statement on Friday (November 23), the Defence Ministry condemned Zaki’s remarks made to Indian media “in the harshest terms” and contended that “such actions are very dangerous [threats] to national security and encourage activities that would harm the country’s independence and sovereignty.”
Zaki responded to the criticism faced by his comments through a statement released yesterday (November 25), claiming that his comments were “misrepresented”.
“The comments I made were directly related to long-standing security cooperation between India and the Maldives, and the common interest of both countries in ensuring peace, stability, law and order in the Maldives, and the emerging international law obligation of Responsibility to Protect. They respond directly to the growing political violence in the Maldives with clear international dimensions,” said Zaki.
He further states that it is “ludicrous” to suggest that India would receive a request that violates the sovereignty of the Maldives.
“My comments in India were completely within the framework of the United Nations resolution 44/51 on Protection and Security of Small States, which the Maldives proposed to the UN in 1989 and of which I am the author. They were fully consistent with the principles set out in UN resolution 2625 and with the regional and the bilateral agreements in force between the two countries.
“To suggest that a call for proactive regional security cooperation was tantamount to treason only reflects the international outlook of those currently governing the Maldives; and I strongly disassociate myself from any such imputation,” added Zaki.
Political groups within the Maldives have been calling for the government to annul the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA) development contract with Indian infrastructure giant GMR.
The Adhaalath party have played a pivotal role in the anti-GMR campaign, staging multiple protests and an issuing an ultimatum for the government to adhere to.
The first six-day ultimatum to “reclaim” the airport was originally announced by the party earlier this month. However, this was extended to November 30 after no action had been taken by the government by the end of the six-day deadline.
Following the latest ultimatum Sheikh Imran warned of “direct action” should there be no conclusion to the dispute by November 30.
Defence of Mohamed Fahmy
Muthalib rcently caused controversy over his comments relating to the dismissal of President of the Civil Service Commission Mohamed Fahmuy on charges of sexual harassment.
Muthalib spoke against removing Fahmy, excusing his actions as being “encouraged” by Satan.
“If we are to make our women nude and exposed, and then send them out to mingle with men, then why speak of protecting them? Honourable Speaker, this cannot be done in this manner. If a man and a woman are in a room alone, Satan will be there as the third person and will encourage sinful activities,” Muthalib said.
“Their place is in their houses, to serve their husbands and look after children. If we give them the opportunity to go out and mingle then we can no longer talk about their dignity and protection. It is people who harass women who are now speaking in their defense here today,” he further added.