Books on Tajikistan
Update No: 290 - (03/03/05)
Two Central Asian nations were in political limbo after flawed parliamentary
elections on February 27th fuelled opposition calls for Ukrainian-style
revolution on the borders of China.
Western observers denounced polls in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, although
monitors from former Soviet states said that they were fair Both nations are
strategically important: Kyrgyzstan hosts a US and a Russian air base, and
Tajikistan's porous border with Afghanistan - a heroin smuggling route - is
patrolled by Russian troops.
In Tajikistan the ruling party claimed to have won 80 per cent of the vote. The
People's Democratic Party of Tajikistan is headed by the President of the
republic, Emomali Rakhmonov. It received 17, out of 22, seats in the parliament
in accordance with the party list vote.
Peter Eicher, the head of the OSCE mission there, said that the turnout of 88
per cent had been suspiciously high and the result had been influenced by abuse
of government resources and state media bias. A coalition of opposition parties
is threatening to boycott the Government and parliament unless new elections are
held - a most unlikely event.
Tajik opposition moves against election results
The parliamentary elections were held in accordance with the scenario of the
power structures, deputy chairman of the Party of Islamic Revival of Tajikistan
Mukhiddin Kabiri told reporters on March 1st in Dushanbe. This party was the
core of the so-called United Tajik Opposition which waged an armed war against
the government in the middle of the 1990s.
"The February 27 elections in Tajikistan are a tragedy, they undermined
their belief in democracy," he said. According to him, his party had sent
in a number of applications to the Central Election Commission, the city court
and the Prosecutor about the violations during the elections. "If the
results of these elections are not annulled, run-off elections should be called
and not only in Dushanbe but also in the regions where violations took
place," Mukhiddin Kabiri believes. "The President should recall his
promises before the elections; he said that they would be democratic and
transparent," the deputy chairman said.
Speaking about the participation of his party in meetings for annulling the
results of the elections Mukhitddin Kabiri said: "We shall act within the
framework of the law, and even if we do not participate in the meetings, we
shall support their participants morally."
Mukhitddin Kabiri and the leaders of four political parties of the country (the
Communist Party, the Democratic Party, the Social Democratic Party and the
Social Party) have signed an application, addressed to President Emomali
Rakhmonov, that they do not recognize the results of the elections.
As the head of the Central Election Commission, Mirzoali Baltuyev, said, under
the party list vote the Communist Party received three seats and the Party of
the Islamic Revival of Tajikistan - two. Other 41 deputies were elected in
single mandate districts. According to the Central Election Commission head, at
the present moment the names of 38 elected single mandate deputies are known: 32
are members of the People's Democratic Party, one - communist and five -
non-party people, Mirzoali Baltuyev said.
Central Asian stasis
It is extremely doubtful that the opposition will make any headway. Tajikistan
is an extremely backward and poor country in Central Asia, with primitive
communications and an absence of a critical press. This was not previously a
nation but an administrative area of the Soviet Union, so there is very little
sense of nationhood. The tribe, in this remote mountainous territory, has been a
more meaningful form of social organisation for time out of mind. It is as
unlike Georgia or Ukraine as could be - far more like Afghanistan to its south.
They are in Europe and have been in touch with developments in the West. In
Central Asia Washington backs this regime for its own reasons, to do of course
with Afghanistan. It sees real political change, such as is occurring in Georgia
and Ukraine as impossible for the moment. This is indeed realistic.
Rakhmanov has given himself the right to stand in presidential elections until
2020. It is perhaps not until then that one might expect changes, although as
events elsewhere have shown, it is impossible to predict any distance ahead.
Tajikistan, Russia and Iran sign power deal
Representatives of Tajikistan, Russia and Iran in the capital of Tajikistan,
Dushanbe, signed a contract for the construction of a cascade of Sangtudin
hydropower plants, Asia-Plus reported recently.
"It is a single technical project. Sangtudin power plant 1 will be built by
the Unified Energy Systems (UES) of Russia and Sangtudin power plant 2 will be
built by Iran," Tajikistan's power Industry Minister, Dzhurabek
Nurmakhmadov, said after the tripartite talks.
After the meeting of the sides a trilateral protocol on the construction of the
cascade and two bilateral protocols were signed between Tajikistan and Russia on
building Sangtudin power plant 1 and between Tajikistan and Iran on the
construction of Sangtudin power plant 2.
Tajikistan road through Chitral in the works
The Tajik government plans to construct a €90m road through the Boroghil
Pass in the Yarkhun valley to link Pakistan with the Central Asian states, New
Europe reported recently.
A Nespak (National Engineering Services of Pakistan) pre-feasibility report
recommending the Wakhan-Chitral route for the import of 1,000 megawatts
electricity from Tajikistan to meet the country's burgeoning power demands was
To link Chitral with other parts of the country through an all-weather route,
the government has already sanctioned the Lowari rail tunnel project. Work on
the project is slated to begin in May, which would take four years for
completion. The proposed projects would open up the district, which was cut off
from the rest of the country in winter, to new era of prosperity and development
besides boosting the national economy and regional trade, Asia-Plus reported.
Federal Minister for Water and Power Liaquat Ali Jatoi told Nespak to finalise
and submit the feasibility report of the road project to the federal cabinet for
Of the 13 passes, which lead to Afghanistan from Chitral district, the Boroghil
Pass is the easiest and lowest in altitude. The pass is very easy to travel over
the undulating Pamir and closes only for a very short period late in winter.
Wakhan is a 13 to 65km wide strategic strip in the northeast of Afghanistan with
a length of about 300km. The area links Afghanistan with Pakistan in the south,
Tajikistan in the north and China in the east.
The Wakhan-Boroghil route has been preferred against the one passing through the
central parts of Afghanistan due to security situation in the neighbouring
country. The road would link the 12,484ft high Boroghil Pass at the north-west
of the Yarkhun valley in Chitral with Sarhad-i-Langar in Wakhan at a distance of
about 95km and move on to Iskashim in Tajikistan leading to the Tajik capital
Dushanbe via the Korung-Kalai Chumb and Kulob areas.
From the Boroghil Pass, the road will traverse down the over 300km long valley
and reach Peshawar. The distance from Tajikistan to Peshawar via the
Wakhan-Chitral route is estimated to be 700km. President Gen Pervez Musharraf
has already sanctioned a number of road projects aimed to inter-link Northern
Areas and Chitral to develop the communication network in the area and promote
tourism potential of the region.