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- Gasim urges to allocate budget to train professional journalists
- Halal certificate issuing to be gazetted next week
- India should be given a helping hand- Gayoom
- India to reassure Maldives of defence cooperation
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- Nasheed used democracy as tool during his rule- Riyaz
- Transparency survey is baseless- MNDF
- Pakistan High Commissioner calls on the Vice President
- Utility services in Raa atoll Dhuvaafaru island handed over to MWSC
- 20 Maldivian Officers training in Protection of Important Building programme by Turkey Police
Maldives Independence Hero Ibrahim Nasir
Maldives former President Ibrahim Nasir attained political independence for the country on 26 July 1965. Nasir who served for 21 years first as Prime Minister from 1957 to 1968 and second as President from 1968 to 1978 is highly acclaimed not only as the independence hero but also as the pioneer of the modern development of the country. Ibrahim Nasir was born on 2 September 1926. He came from a noble family.
Ibrahim Nasir’s father was Velaanaage Ahmed Didi, and his mother was Aishath Didi. He married three times, his first marriage was to Aishath Zubair with whom he had one son Ahmed Nasir. His second wife was Mariyam Saeed. They had two sons, Ali Nasir and Mohamed Nasir, and his third and last wife was Naseema Mohamed Kalefaanu with whom he had a son, Ismail Nasir and a daughter Aishath Nasir.
Ibrahim Nasir studied in Male’ and in Sri Lanka.
Nasir was appointed as Prime Minister of Maldives on 12 December 1957, during the reign of Sultan Mohamed Fareed Didi, when Prime Minister Ibrahim Ali Didi (Ibrahim Faamuladheri Kilegefaanu) resigned after the controversial leasing of Addu Atoll Gan to the British Government for 100 years. Nasir became popular and powerful and was effectively in overall charge of the country.
During the last years of Nasir’s administration as Prime Minister, a referendum was held to decide if the people want to continue with a monarchy or preferred to change over to a republican system of government. The people chose a republican system. A presidential election voted in favor of Nasir for President, and he was sworn in as President on 11 November 1968. Ibrahim Nasir was widely credited with modernizing the long isolated and hardly known Maldives and opening the country to the wide world. His foremost achievement was attaining political independence for the country. Almost as important was his successful endeavor to gain United Nations membership for the country despite opposition from some nations who were not convinced about granting UN membership to a nation of such small size.
Nasir freed the economy of the country from the monopoly and control of foreign traders and laid a strong foundation for the economy by introducing tourism, and modernizing the fishing industry with mechanized fishing vessels. Maldives has now become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and modernizing the fishery industry has boosted the fish catch and thus the income of local fishermen. Fishing and tourism are the chief occupations of the people, and mainstay of the economy. Nasir established a government trading centre which is STO today. He opened opportunities to local traders on many fronts. Nasir also opened the first airport in the Maldives.
One of Nasir’s greatest services is introducing English medium based modern education in the country. He started radio and TV broadcasting and established a modern telecommunication system that is functioning as Dhiraagu today. During Nasir’s government, Maldives also had a very successful shipping line which owned more than 40 ships.
In the political and democratic front, Ibrahim Nasir has won much credit for several important steps he initiated. Apart from skillfully and successfully steering the country’s independence struggle, he pioneered the re-introduction of the presidential system and guaranteed more rights of the people. Devolution of power in the atolls by electing atoll committees and appointing the member receiving maximum votes in the committees as atoll chiefs was another important step forward. He also enabled franchise for women and included the first women minister in his cabinet.
Nasir wanted to limit the presidency to 2 five year terms , but that attempt was rejected by the cabinet. Nasir, however emulated a remarkable example by not accepting a third term of office despite repeated motions of the Majlis to continue his presidency. Political analysts give him much credit for his example, saying there are few leaders like Nasir who knew when to leave power.
Nasir abolished all duties from imported goods to the country thus making Maldives duty free. When Nasir relinquished power, Maldives was debt free to the international community and corruption was effectively under control while law and order was strictly enforced.
However, Nasir was criticized for his authoritarian attitude against opponents. Most notably he was criticized for his strict way in handling an insurrection by the people of Addu Atoll, Foammulah and Huvadhu Atoll who formed a breakaway government, United Suvadeeb Republic. Under the leadership of Addu Atoll Hithadhoo Abdulla Afeef, this rebellion was closely associated with the British. Supported by a public referendum, Nasir quelled the rebellion and brought the three atolls back to the territorial sovereignty of Maldives. Afeef was given asylum in Seychelles by the British.
Nasir was decorated with the highest honour of the country, the title of Rannabadeyri Kilege and Insignia of the Ghazee ( N.G.I.V.) and Queen Elizebeth II of Britain also conferred the title of KCMG on Nasir.
Nasir was succeeded by the Transport Minister of his last government, Azhar University educated Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who was supported by Nasir. Winning the 1978 presidential election, the scholar turned politician Gayoom took office on 11 November 1978. Soon after, on 7 December 1978, Nasir left for Singapore with his family.
Nasir’s departure to Singapore was seen as a self exile as much dissent was seen growing against Nasir with the induction of the new Government. Massive rallies were held in capital Male’ and many other islands, condemning him for alleged torture and corruption. These allegations were debated in the Majlis and a special committee found Nasir had committed criminal offences including corruption of state funds. He was tried in absentia and sentenced to jail in May 1981 and his properties seized.
Nasir never returned Maldives though President Gayoom granted him a pardon in 1990. Nasir lived a lonely life in Singapore until his death on 22 December 2008. President Mohamed Nasheed who won the presidential election in 2008 had just taken over from President Gayoom who ruled the country from 1978 to 2008.
President Nasheed brought Nasir’s body to Maldives and gave a state funeral to the departed leader. Thousands of Maldivians paid their last tribute in rain and sun to this great national hero who won them independence and gave the country such great service. So many people were in tears and shame. They felt deep sorrow for the injustice done to a national hero and for being ungrateful. Ungrateful to a heroic leader who had to live a sad and lonely life in a far away country. They could not forgive themselves for doing that and depriving Nasir of the right of coming back to the country he loved so much and had served selflessly.