Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa is likely to visit the Maldives after emergency declared in the Indian Ocean nation in February was lifted after 45 days on 22 March, Devirupa Mitra of The Wire has reported.
Bajwa may visit the island nation this week, becoming the highest-ranking foreign official to visit the country after the Maldives’ descent into crisis in February. In July last year, Yameen had invited Pakistan’s then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as the chief guest for the Independence Day celebrations.
The Maldives plunged into a major political crisis soon after the island nation’s Supreme Court ordered the release of nine political prisoners, including exiled former President Nasheed, saying their trials were "politically motivated and flawed". It also overturned a previous ruling that disqualified 12 members of parliament after defection, giving the opposition a majority in the Majlis.
Country’s current President, Abdulla Yameen, refused to comply with the judgement. He declared a state of emergency, ordered the arrest of the chief justice, another judge and former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
Under Yameen, the Maldives has seen not only a decline in democratic freedoms but also a rise in Chinese influence. China has invested in multiple infrastructure projects and has signed a free trade agreement with the country. Yameen has ignored repeated snubs from New Delhi and has not shown sensitivity towards India’s security concerns in the face of increasing Chinese influence.
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