Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 41

United Tajik Opposition First Vice Chairman Akbar Turanjozoda, considered the UTO’s main political strategist, returned to Dushanbe on February 27 after five years of political exile in Iran and Afghanistan. Addressing a mass welcome rally and a news conference, Turajonzoda outlined, in no special order, five UTO priorities. One, parallel fulfillment of the 1997 political and military agreements between the government and the UTO. Two, revival of the Tajik state and of Islam. Three, a referendum on a constitutional amendment to replace the term "secular government" with "popular government," in order to allow equal political participation by secular and religious parties. Four, introduction of a mixed economy and market relations. Five, maintenance of good and "balanced" relations with Uzbekistan and other Central Asian countries, with Iran, and with Russia, "so that Tajikistan becomes no one’s protectorate." (Russian and Western agencies, February 27-28)

Turajonzoda was the UTO’s chief delegate in the two-year negotiations that culminated in the signing of the Moscow agreements last June. He is slated for a first deputy prime minister’s post under the agreement that allots the UTO 30 percent of government posts. Official Dushanbe sought to delay his return to the country and deployed the OMON in Dushanbe to limit attendance to the welcome rally. Turanjozoda, and the UTO in general, have not pressed for the establishment of an Islamic government and have not imposed Sharia or other fundamentalist Islamic norms in areas of the country controlled by UTO forces.

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