Ali Zahir, Deputy leader of Maldives’s Adalat Party, speaks to Hardnews on the current political climate in the Maldives. He makes many revelations about the turmoil that has engulfed the country and weighs in on how it is affecting tourism, which is the mainstay of the Maldivian economy. This interview was done before Emergency was declared in the island nation.
As told to Hardnews:
It is a strange situation where Parliament is locked up and Members of Parliament are in jail. We do not see anyone in the government except one person — President Abdulla Yameen. There are no Cabinet meetings. People of Maldives have no clue about how important decisions are taken. There is no accountability as there is no distribution of power between different institutions for checks and balances. The Media is also not allowed to broadcast or report about the bills that are being passed in the Parliament. The police too has been politicised. This government is not allowing any political activity. Our leader of the Adalat Party was arrested for giving a speech in 2015 and charged with terrorism. It was one of the biggest rallies in recent times where more than 30,000 people showed up. On Februrary 25, he will complete a 1,000 days in custody.
Every political opponent is facing a similar fate. Nasheed is in exile. Jumhooree Party leader Qasim Ibrahim was in ICU. Few weeks ago, the custom police raided his resort and seized liquor bottles. This move will hurt tourism in the country. How can you run a resort when liquor is not allowed?