Male: In a shocking incident, Hussain Shameem, the Prosecutor General of Maldives appointed by former President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) government, has been brutally stabbed amid attacks on several parliamentarians by gangs on the road, according to local media reports.
The incident came in the midst of a political standoff between pro-China President Mohamed Muizzu’s government and the opposition MDP, which is on track to introduce an impeachment motion against Muizzu. The MDP has criticised the government’s pivot towards China and still controls a majority of the Maldivian Parliament.
Shameem was attacked on Wednesday morning and is currently receiving treatment at the Maldives’s ADK Hospital, a prosecutor’s office official told Adhadhu. He also suffered a crack in his wrist trying to evade the attack. It is believed that the attack was not carried out with a sharp object.
“Prosecutor Hussain Shamim has been attacked on the streets of the city. He is being treated at ADK. The attack was not carried out with a sharp object,” police said in a statement. This comes amid growing incidents of violence in the country since Muizzu came to power in November.
Earlier, the Maldives Parliament witnessed violence when government MPs (PPM/PNC party) disturbed the proceedings of Parliament and the Speakers during a key vote on parliamentary approval for the Muizzu government. A brawl between MDP MP Isa and PNC MP Abdullah Shaheem Abdul Hakeem was seen.
Muizzu under fire for anti-India stance
Muizzu won the election in the Maldives in November last year, riding on an ‘India Out’ campaign, and tensions between the two countries reached their highest point when he asked India to withdraw its nearly 80 military personnel stationed there. Earlier this month, Muizzu vowed to stop the emergency helicopter services as facilitated by India and fixed March 2024 as the deadline to stop the helicopter services and for the withdrawal of Indian troops.
The main opposition MDP has announced its plan to impeach Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu, the government has approached the Supreme Court over the recent amendment to Parliament’s standing orders which makes the process of impeachment easier, as per reports. The MDP has already started gathering signatures for Muizzu’s impeachment.
The Attorney General’s Office filed the case on Sunday, the same day when clashes broke out in the House between pro-government MPs and opposition lawmakers following differences over the approval of four members of his cabinet.
The Maldivian Parliament currently requires 54 votes to impeach President Muizzu, instead of the previous 58, as, according to the amendment to the standing orders, the total number of MPs is now 80, instead of 87. Last week, the MDP and the Democrats announced an alliance to work together in the Parliament “to hold the government accountable”, labelling the government’s anti-India stance as “extremely detrimental” to the country’s long-term development.
The MDP and Democrats, have 56 MPs between them; 43 MPs from the MDP, and 13 from the Democrats. They, therefore, have the power to impeach the president, if they wish. Notably, the relationship between India and the Maldives reached new heights under the leadership of Solih. The Maldives’ proximity to India, barely 70 nautical miles from the island of Minicoy in Lakshadweep and 300 nautical miles from the mainland’s western coast, and its location at the hub of commercial sea lanes running through the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) gives it significant strategic importance.
Opposition leaders ask Muizzu to apologise to India
Meanwhile, Gasuim Ibrahim, leader of the Jumhoori Party, has urged Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu to formally apologise to New Delhi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and seek “diplomatic reconciliation” to mend bilateral relations.
Expressing concern over the comments, Gasim urged President Muizzu to seek forgiveness from India for the indirect attacks made in the interview, according to local media. Gasim attributed those unwarranted remarks to former President Abdulla Yameen, who initiated the “India Out” campaign leading to tensions between Maldives and India, and pointed out that former President Ibrahim Solih, who was the president at that time, “delayed in opposing the campaign.”
(with ANI inputs)