Former president and current Speaker Mohamed Nasheed (centre) at the Dubai Expo (Photo: @MohamedNasheed/Twitter)
In a significant development, former president and current Speaker of the Maldivian Parliament, Mohamed Nasheed, came back to Maldives after five months of stay in Europe.
Nasheed had been rushed to Germany after an assassination attempt through an improvised explosive blast on May 6. The IED blast near his home had left him badly injured and, after urgent medical care in the Maldives, he was air-lifted to Germany.
Nasheed also came to work as the Parliament Speaker. According to The Times of Addu, he also visited his home and met his family.
He held a press conference to deny some of the rumours regarding his stay.
Maldives expert at the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), Gulbin Sultana told India Narrative that Nasheed's life might still be at risk. Sultana said: "Even when he was in Germany for treatment, he had been threatened over social media".
However, he was also under pressure to return to the country to be able to discharge his duties as the Speaker.
Arab News says that Nasheed, the pro-democracy pioneer was welcomed by Maldivian "President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih at the Male international airport before being driven away under heavy armed escort". It says that people were surprised to see him at the airport because his return had not been made public due to security reasons.
The assassination attempt on Nasheed prompted changes in the country's laws. The government also began constructing secure residences for some of the top political leaders in the country.
The archipelago is witnessing increased radicalisation--one of the reasons cited for the attack on Nasheed. The government has tightened security for Nasheed not just because of the threat perception but also because of a recent security breach at the Chief Justice's home.
The Maldivian government was helped by Australia in investigations related to the attack on Nasheed. Many people involved in the attack have been arrested.
Nasheed is known for ushering in democracy and introducing liberal values in the tiny South Asian nation. However, these very changes in the country's governance made him a target of radicals who want the country to be run in compliance with Islamic laws. The radical elements also want a ban on tourism--a major revenue earner for Maldives—as they feel it goes against their cultural values.
Nasheed is also a strong global advocate for action on climate change and the threat it poses to small island States. He had highlighted the existential threat to island nations posed by a worsening climate by holding an underwater cabinet meeting during his presidential term.