ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is proceeding to the Maldives today (Tuesday) on a three day visit on the invitation of Maldives President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom. He will be the guest of honour in the 52nd Independence Day of that country tomorrow (Wednesday).
The prime minister will attend the day long celebrations of the Day, and he will have bilateral talks with the president during his stay in the important South Asian State which is also member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc). It is understood that the future of the organisation would also come up for discussion besides mutual cooperation of the two brotherly countries.
The official talks will take place between the visiting prime minister and the host president.
Highly placed diplomatic sources told The News here on Monday that a number of MoUs/agreements for cooperation in various fields would also be signed after the talks. Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affair Sartaj Aziz will also accompany the prime minister in the visit. The Foreign Office has reminded that “Pakistan attaches high importance to its relations with the Maldives which are characterised by cordiality, mutual respect and commonality of interests.” In a statement, the Foreign Office reminded that diplomatic relations with Maldives established on July 26, 1966, had grown from strength to strength. Both the countries closely coordinate with each other at regional and international forums on issues of mutual importance.
“The Pakistan-Maldives relationships are marked by close and warm sentiments between the people of the two countries. The visit of the prime minister will provide impetus to further strengthen our bilateral relations with the Maldives in all areas, including political, trade, economic, defence, tourism, education and people to people contacts,” the Foreign Office said.
In an interesting development, the Maldivian army has locked down the country’s parliament after the opposition vowed to move ahead with a vote against speaker of Parliament, a key ally of President Abdulla Yameen two days ahead of its Independence Day on Monday.
According to the wire reports the politicians defied the ban on Monday, fighting off riot police and scaling metre-high walls to enter parliament compound. The opposition was hoping to hold a vote to impeach Speaker Abdulla Maseeh, whom they accuse of ignoring allegations of corruption and rights abuses, before the lockdown came into effect. They had secured enough support from government defectors to begin impeachment proceedings earlier this month.
But the ruling party dismissed the motion after Yameen announced that four of the defectors had lost their parliamentary seats due to changing loyalties. Ahmed Mahloof, an opposition politician, said soldiers carrying batons followed the members inside on Monday and forcibly ejected them. “Soldiers in riot gear are dragging elected members out from parliament,” Mahloof told media. “This is clearly unconstitutional.” Many of us have been injured.” Videos posted on social media show soldiers pushing politicians out of the building. A few appear to have been injured. “There is no better symbol of Yameen’s dictatorship than the image of his security forces barring elected MPs from parliament.
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