The SAARC Secretariat has said it has yet to formally receive the resignation of Secretary General Dhiyana Saeed, both the youngest individual and first woman to be appointed to the position.
The Secretariat is headquartered in Nepal. In the country’s Himalayan newspaper, Secretariat Spokesperson Niranjan Man Singh Basnyat noted Saeed’s resignation was the first untimely resignation by a Secretary General in SAARC’s 26-year history.
“It will be clear only after the office opens on Monday,” Basnyat told the Nepalese newspaper.
Saeed has confirmed her resignation following her appearance on private broadcaster VTV, owned by opposition-aligned Jumhoree Party (JP) MP Gasim Ibrahim, during which she accused the government of ignoring the law in its detention of Chief Judge of the Criminal Court, Abdulla Mohamed.
If the government contended that Abdulla Mohamed had violated the constitution, “he has to be dealt with within the confines of the law,” Saeed insisted. “The government should not take the law into its own hands.”
Press Secretary for the President Mohamed Zuhair told Minivan News last week that Saeed’s public statements “clearly contravened the SAARC Charter” which “forbids interference in the matters of any state, including the state she represents”.
Resigning before making her public statement against the government would have been the “honourable” approach, Zuhair said. “Now, even should she resign, [her behavior] is still dishonourable and indecent.”
Secretary Generals of the regional body are appointed for three year terms. The Maldives is required to appoint a replacement for Saeed to serve out the rest of her term, which expires on February 28, 2014. The nomination must be endorsed the SAARC Council of Ministers, currently headed by Foreign Minister of the Maldives, Ahmed Naseem.
The ongoing detention of Abdulla Mohamed has caused divisions even among senior members of the government. Vice President Mohamed Waheed Hassan said over the weekend that he was “ ashamed and totally devastated by the fact that this is happening in a government in which I am the elected the Vice President.”
For its part, the government contends that its detention of the Judge is justifiable under the President’s obligation to protect the letter and spirit of the constitution, given the failure of the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) to pursue the many allegations of corruption and political favouritism pending against the judge.