MALE: Maldives has rejoined the Commonwealth just an hour after United Kingdom left the European Union, bringing the total number of nations in the global organisation to 54.
Pakistan has welcomes the readmission of Maldives to the Commonwealth and congratulates the government and the people of the island nation. A statement by the Foreign Office said that Pakistan has been a strong supporter of Maldives’ readmission and it’s role as an important member of the organisation.
“Pakistan also acknowledges and greatly appreciates the role played by Maldives in other regional and international organisations. Pakistan remains committed to working closely with Maldives in achieving the shared objectives of peace, development and prosperity within the region and beyond,” it added.
Maldives quit the Commonwealth in 2016 under former president Abdulla Yameen, when it was threatened with suspension over its human rights record and lack of progress on democratic reform.
The surprise election of Preisdent Ibrahim “Ibu” Mohamed Solih in 2018 who promised change lead to the release of political prisoners and exiled opposition figures have been allowed to return home.
The nation returned to multi-party democracy in 2008 after decades of autocratic rule. There has been political turmoil ever since the first democratically-elected leaders Mohammad Nasheed resigned in 2012 after he was forced out in a coup.
Maldives had to demonstrate evidence of a functioning democratic process and popular support for being part of the group of nations to be let back in, along with unanimous agreement by all other Commonwealth nations.
Being a member again allows Maldives to receive the support of 80 organisations that promote development, democracy and peace. It will also get access to experts offering impartial advice and solutions to national problems and other resources.
Maldives President Solih said it was a “happy day” for Maldivians and that “as a young democracy, the Commonwealth’s foundational values of the promotion of democracy, human rights, good governance, multilateralism and world peace remain relevant to us more than ever”.
Maldives, which last joined the Commonwealth in 1982, will now be part of the Commonwealth heads of government meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, in June. The Queen is the symbolic head of the Commonwealth, and more than 2.4 billion citizens make up the voluntary association.