Eighteen years after a painstakingly negotiated peace treaty brought an end to Tajikistan’s devastating civil war, a wave of intimidation by the authorities against the opposition is reopening old wounds.
Tired of tolerating even marginal expressions of dissent, President Emomali Rahmon’s government is liberally jailing opponents and hounding those it has not yet arrested into exile. Others have been killed in murky circumstances.
Against that backdrop, this year’s celebrations for National Unity Day, which commemorates the signing of the UN-brokered peace agreement on June 27, 1997, felt especially hollow.
Under that treaty, the loose coalition of Islamists, nationalists and minority Pamiris that formed the United Tajik Opposition (UTO) was promised 30 percent of government positions.
Rahmon began reneging on that and other commitments in the peace accord even before the ink was dry.
Ulfatkhonim Mamadshoeva of Lali Badakhshan – a party that sided with the UTO during the civil war – says she fears Rahmon’s administration is making the same kind of mistakes that lead to the outbreak of conflict in 1992.
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