Gasim Ibrahim 'persistent' against Govt. amid growing woes

Maldives business tycoon and Jumhoory Party leader Gasim Ibrahim has claimed he stands relentlessly with the opposition in their attempts to reform the government despite deepening predicaments.

The opposition leader said he will not be intimidated over any circumstances - referring to state's alleged attempt to hinder his business and force his fealty by apprehending his children.

His remarks come shortly after the ruling party claimed the Villa Group owner had seemingly "thrown in the towel" from opposition efforts against the government.

The business tycoon has faced the brunt of the government crackdown on the opposition in the wake of the Supreme Court order to immediately release all jailed political leaders including self-exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed.

Gasim's eldest son Ibrahim Siyad Gasim in the alleged Supreme Court led attempt to overthrow the government.

Maldives military and police raided opposition the business tycoon's Villa Group building in the capital Male while security forces had also searched Paradise Island Resort under the company's umbrella.

Gasim's eldest son had been managing the business empire after his father invested more time in politics.

Fonadhoo lawmaker Raheem told reporters on Saturday that Gasim now believes that the other opposition leaders are trying to "destroy" him.

"I [Gasim] have been ruined. My children and business have been ruined. I have nothing to gain. My party won't even get the presidential ticket. We've received word that Gasim had spoken in that manner," the outspoken lawmaker claimed.

Following this rumors had also spread the Jumhoory Party leader was seeking dialogue with senior government officials including president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom to reach a 'mutual understanding.'

However Gasim Ibrahim had denied this and said he was still with the opposition in their efforts against the current state, adding he will continue lending support despite any 'extreme measures' by the government.

He also affirmed a large scale assembly by the opposition on March 16 with citizens from atolls expected to participate in the event. The opposition leader added discussions with other opposition leaders have already taken place regarding the demonstration.

Gasim was convicted of bribery in August last year months after he inked a landmark pact with former presidents Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Mohamed Nasheed and religiously conservative Adhaalath Party (AP) leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla to work against the government.

The business tycoon was granted medical leave to travel to Singapore where he had undergone a minor heart surgery in September before travelling to Germany.

Despite his leave expiring in late September, the former lawmaker had not returned claiming that no airline would allow him on board an air craft due to his ailing condition.