2011-02-25 15:57:00

Tajikistan not facing risk of Arab-style revolution Islamic opposition

Dushanbe, February 25, Interfax - Tajikistan can avoid popular riots similar to those occurring in Arab countries because it has recently experienced a civil war, leader of the most authoritative party, the Islamic Revival Party, Mukhiddin Kabiri, told journalists on Friday.

However, the Tajik government should think carefully about what it is happening and urgently conduct reforms, the leader of the party said.

"Such riots [like in Egypt, Tunisia and Bahrain] are no threat to Tajikistan for the next few years as our people have already experienced the bitter consequences of a civil standoff in this country. However, it should not be forgotten that the lessons and consequences of that war cannot be a perennial elixir securing peace and stability for the country and its people," Kabiri said.

During the 1992-1997 civil war in Tajikistan, which claimed tens of thousands of civilian lives, the IRP was the driving opposition force fighting against the so-called Popular Front which propelled the incumbent president, Emomali Rahmon, to power.

"The world around us is changing fast: today the Eastern European countries, which had existed under the USSR dictate, have largely joined free and democratic countries, and after the events in the countries of the Arab world the Central Asian region is becoming a closer neighbor to such countries," Kabiri said.

The 40,000-member Islamic Revival Party is the only opposition party represented in the country's parliament.

"The events occurring in the world, including in Arab countries, are urging us, whether we like it or not, to conduct reforms, and I am deeply convinced that such reforms must not be conducted according to the Egyptian or Tunisian scenario, with the ruling elite stepping aside or joining the crowd," Kabiri said.

"The [Central Asian] governments should realize that using old methods and framework in running their countries is becoming impossible, and that in conducting such reforms the government can invite political parties, intellectuals and young people, thus strengthening the nation's unity," he said.

The Islamic Revival Party leader urged not to overthrow governments but allow them to implement the reforms.

"Such reforms in Central Asia, particularly Tajikistan, must be conducted by the current governments in these republics," Kabiri said.