Jumhoory Party leader says never again to backing Maldives pres

Jumhoory Party leader Gasim Ibrahim (C) greets president Yameen. MIHAARU FILE PHOTO/NISHAN ALI

Jumhoory Party leader Gasim Ibrahim (C) greets president Yameen. MIHAARU FILE PHOTO/NISHAN ALI

Opposition Jumhoory Party’s leader Qasim Ibrahim on Thursday declared he has revoked his support for President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom and vowed never to support him again “even if they hang me upside down and feed me to the crows”.

The local tycoon urged all the citizens who had voted for President Yameen on his words to take back their support as well.

“I didn’t think he was such a person. I also apologise for asking [the people] to support him,” said Qasim in an interview to Mihaaru.

With regards to Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA) freezing the bank accounts of his company Villa Shipping and Trading, Qasim proclaimed that the current administration “has no good intentions” and that his support for the government had brought him nothing but deceit and betrayal.

“I’m saying very frankly that I’ll never again side with Yameen even if they hang me upside down and feed me to the crows.”

Acknowledging that he had invested millions in a short amount of time to bring President Yameen to power, Qasim disclosed that he had set out to campaign for Yameen for the sake of the judiciary, police and military who had pleaded for his aid.

“The former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim and former Police Commissioner Abdulla Riyaz requested [my support for Yameen]. I set out for the sake of the police and military. With great integrity, I pledged myself ready to serve even as an office boy. But I was not even given granted the position of a chair or deputy chair of a parliamentary committee. During President Nasheed’s administration, I was the chair of the economic committee from the beginning. Every year, I was the chair of the budget review committee.”

He went on to say that his decision to support President Yameen had not been influenced by Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom as well.

“When President Maumoon approached me, requesting my support for Yameen, I told him right then that I respect [Maumoon] highly, but that Yameen would do this to both him and myself. I explained it all from A to Z for two hours that this is what would happen to me [if President Yameen came to power]. And now how have things turned out? Aren’t they just as I said it would be?”

Qasim said that he had given it his all to cooperate with President Yameen, but he did not see integrity from the president. He declared that MIRA freezing Villa Shipping’s accounts were also politically motivated. When asked if the reason were that the state is accusing him of spending on the motion of no confidence against parliamentary speaker Abdulla Maseeh, Qasim denied the allegations.

He said that he believed the government will “squeeze [him] like a lemon”, saying that they are looking to “entirely shatter” him.

However, Qasim asserted that he will not stand back despite whatever obstruction or intimidation he has to face.

He added that he is not much involved in the motion of no confidence being sought against the parliamentary speaker, but stated the lawmakers involved will see it through.

“I always advocate on behalf of the people. Every step I take at any time is for the people. There is absolutely nothing now to make me side with Yameen. How am I supposed to follow such a cruel leader?”

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