President Imomali Rahmonov charged, on May 16, that the United Tajik Opposition’s main party, the Party of Islamic Revival, aims to turn Tajikistan into an “Islamic state.” In a speech to a pro-regime youth organization, Rahmonov dismissed the PIR leaders’ assurances that they do not aim for an Islamic state. He described the party as “extremist” and “fundamentalist,” warned that the 1994 ban on the PIR remains in effect and charged that the party’s attempts to resume political activities violate that ban.
Rahmonov made these remarks in the context of explaining his participation in the anti-Islamic troika recently set up in Moscow by Russia, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. According to Rahmonov, the troika will support the efforts to resist against “religious extremism and fundamentalism” in Tajikistan. (Russian agencies, May 16)
The speech throws into question the political agreements between government and opposition with regard to power-sharing and the legalization of political parties. The apparent turnabout in Rahmonov’s position substantiates forecasts (see the Monitor, May 6, 12, 15) that the troika’s creation can seriously and unnecessarily complicate the political settlement of the conflict in Tajikistan. –VS
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