Sun, 16 Jan 2022

Male [Maldives], October 31 (ANI): Mohamed Saeed, former Minister of Economic Development and presently a member of People Majilis is encouraging hate sentiments for President Ibrahim Solih's government to bring Pro-China derived Abdulla Yameen to power in the Maldives.

In 2020, Saeed was invited as a key speaker in one of the Center for GlobalStrategic Studies (CGSS's) online conducted international conference. In this conference, he talked about how the Maldives may face challenges with evolving Indian Ocean scenario, reported Maldives Voice.

He made claims about how the ruling party Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has been performing poorly and the socio-economic progress that the Maldives made under former President Yameen's regime is crumbling apart, reported Maldives Voice.

At the conference, he relayed his distress quoting a 2018 CNN based report that stated, 'as China grows, India is looking to build military presence in Seychelles'. He is worried if the Maldives would be at a greater loss by being too dependent on India.

When asked about the growing influence of China in the Maldives, he quickly made remarks saying the Maldives did not invent free trade and that Maldives had approached the US, Japan and EU for free trade agreements (FTAs) too but only China was willing to invest and explore the Maldives.

He subtly put a message across that China's involvement in the Maldives is inevitable as China is a 'major economic power' that is bound to make investments into neighbouring countries in the continent, Maldives for more reasons because of its geostrategic importance far behind its physical size, reported Maldives Voice.

Two different online conferences were organized by CGSS in the month of September and October of 2020. The first conference criticized the current government of Maldives and questioned its close ties with India. The second conference held in October discussed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)Regional Connectivity.

The aim of the conference was to get familiarized with the significance of the Belt and Road Initiative and how it contributes to the member states.

But, there has been reported disagreement regarding Free Trade Agreement with China that was signed through rushed parliament in 2018.

The unsustainable debt towards China is worrisome for the Maldives, though Beijing has indicated that it is ready to discuss repayment terms of the loans. However, after what happened in Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Djibouti, unsettling concerns about China's 'dept-trap diplomacy' remains, reported Maldives Voice.

The Maldives could meet the same fate as Sri Lanka where the Chinese debt trap led the country to gain a 70 per cent stake in the Hambantota port on a 99-year lease in 2017.

Saeed also commented regarding the relationship between Maldives and Pakistan, saying that the two countries share common ideologies, and the brotherly bond will grow deeper with years to come.

Following this, a writer from CGSS published an article that contained peculiar facts about India and the ruling party in the Maldives. The article had subtle hints where they subjected India as the 'foreign country' who funded MDP, President Solih's government to assassinate the then President Abdulla Yameen.

The article also questioned Solih's administration and its lack of trust in the judicial system, but what the world knows is the opposite. It was Yameen who lacked trust in its judicial system and went on a rampage by jailing the Chief Justice, because the Supreme Court overturned the sentences of many of Yameen's political opponents which was followed by a declaration of the state of emergency in the country for 45 days in 2018, reported Maldives Voice.

Secondly, the article claimed increased crime rates under Solih's jurisdiction. If reports about crime in the Maldives is read in-depth, it's notable that murders and political arrests have gone down increasingly in numbers during his regime.

However, as per Maldives Voice, Yameen's administration record is poor as compared to Solih's government. In 2014, when Ahmed Rilwan, a blogger and reporter for the Maldives Independent was abducted and disappeared. He used to criticize corruption and religious extremism.

A similar case occurred in the year 2017 when Yameen Rasheed who was known for his sarcastic takes on politicians was found dead with 34 stab wounds in Male. All these events occurred under Yameen's administration.

This could also be seen as a threat to the working of media and the art of journalism in the Maldives as Yameen passed the controversial defamation law in 2016, this limited the freedom of the press making it almost non-existent but as soon as Solih's tenure started, media situation in the Maldives significantly improved as stated in the World Press Freedom Index report.

Another baseless claim made in the article was the protest led by 30,000 Maldivian fishermen. The reason behind the protests was portrayed to be the aggravated local fishermen, who were forced to sell their fish under market price as the government's alleged mismanagement of state-owned fisheries companies. But no such event ever occurred or happened, reported Maldives Voice. (ANI)

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