Gayoom's daughter quits govt but won't join opposition

Jailed former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom's daughter Dhunya Maumoon on Tuesday resigned from her state minister's post, weeks after her father's arrest over the alleged plot to overthrow the government.

Dhunya who has been serving as the state health minister in her uncle and incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom's government resigned after she had publicly urged the authorities to release her father.

In a statement, Dhunya insisted that the current crisis plaguing the country can only be resolved through dialogue and urged the people to come together for the sake of the generations to come.

"Despite intense pressure I remain resolutely behind my beliefs and principles. I remain independent. I haven't joined the opposition. I will remain a proud Maldivian," Dhunya said in the statement.

Dhunya also refused to take sides in the split between her father and uncle.

"President Yameen is also my blood. I'm still behind president Yameen. And I'm ready to assist in any dialogue with other political leaders," she added.

The island nation has been embroiled in fresh political turmoil after the Supreme Court on February 1 ordered the immediate release of jailed political leaders including Nasheed.

President Yameen on February 5 had declared a 15 day state of emergency after his last ditch attempt to convince the top court to revoke the order failed, purged the Supreme Court by arresting two judges and the remaining political leaders and ultimately had the order revoked.

As the state of emergency expired last week, president Yameen had got the parliament contentiously extend it by another 30 days.

President Yameen is facing mounting pressure even within the security forces after exploiting the rights suspended under emergency state to crackdown hard on the opposition as police have made a series of high profile arrests including former president Gayoom, three lawmakers, chief justice Abdulla Saeed, top court judge Ali Hameed and the chief judicial administrator.

Less than a day after the arrest of the two judges, the remaining three judges rescinded its ruling to release the political leaders referring to the concerns raised by president Yameen in the letters he had sent to the chief justice hours before state of emergency was declared.

The accusations against Gayoom included bribing lawmakers and judges to influence their authority while the deposed ruling party leader has also been accused of creating discord within the security forces to back the overthrow of his half-brother's government.

The two top court judges are accused of accepting bribes to influence Supreme Court rulings, abuse of power and blocking the functioning of the entire justice system.

In addition to Nasheed, the other top political leaders named in the now rescinded order included Jumhoory Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim, religiously conservative Adhaalath Party (AP) leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla, former defence minister Mohamed Nazim, former vice president Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor and Gayoom's lawmaker son Faris Maumoon.

Former prosecutor general Muhthaz Muhsin, magistrate Ahmed Nihan and Adheeb's uncle Hamid Ismail make up the rest of the list.