Tajikistan’s government yesterday observed Constitution Day, its state holiday. The occasion was overshadowed by the arrest in the last few days of more than 30 businessmen by the Internal Affairs Ministry, on "suspicion" of finance law violations. Also in the last few days, the authorities have arrested parliamentary deputy Hoja Karimov and 11 associates and confiscated an arsenal of weapons from them. Karimov is accused of various crimes including the assassination of three fellow-deputies in 1993. (14)
Karimov was in 1992-1993 a field commander of the Popular Front, the paramilitary organization with clan and criminal links that helped bring the current government to power through civil war. Some Popular Front commanders engaged in mutual killings after their common success, others were rewarded with political posts in Dushanbe and in the regime’s army and police. Rivalries among the victors in that war have also persisted in Kurgan-Tyube region, where two Tajik army brigades originating from Popular Front units fought each other from July through September of this year.
CIS Defense Ministers.