Uzbekistan’s Karimov says wants ‘to keep working’

Updated 15 May 2014
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Uzbekistan’s Karimov says wants ‘to keep working’

SAMARKAND, Uzbekistan: Uzbekistan’s longtime President Islam Karimov said Thursday he had no intention of leaving office soon, as he opened a conference in the city of Samarkand on Islam’s medieval Golden Age.
The comments from Karimov, 76, come ahead of a presidential vote expected early next year in Central Asia’s most populous country.
“I am one of those who is criticized for staying too long,” Karimov told diplomats and scholars gathered for the conference.
“I am criticized, but I stay. I am criticized but I want to keep working. What’s wrong with that?”
Karimov has ruled the secular mainly Muslim nation of 30 million since it gained independence with the 1991 Soviet collapse.
Uzbekistan is often criticised for tightly controlling society and tolerating no dissent. There was speculation earlier this year about the state of the president’s health but officials have vehemently denied any problems. Karimov was in the ancient Silk Road city to launch an academic conference on preserving the heritage of the Islamic Golden Age, a period of flourishing culture in the Muslim world while Europe was enduring the Dark Ages.
“Today in Uzbekistan there are more than 100,000 manuscripts, most of them included in the UNESCO World Heritage List... waiting for new discoveries,” Karimov told the conference.


‘Unprecedented’ crackdown on crime welcomed by Afghans

Updated 24 min 4 sec ago
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‘Unprecedented’ crackdown on crime welcomed by Afghans

  • Interior Minister Amruallah Saleh's first act was to order his subordinates to ignore the long-standing tradition of presenting politicians with flowers and gowns when they are promoted
  • Saleh has also banned politicians and lawmakers from traveling with their ubiquitous security details (

KABUL: When Amruallah Saleh took office as Afghanistan’s interior minister last month, he wasted no time setting out his stall. His first act was to order his subordinates to ignore the long-standing tradition of presenting politicians with flowers and gowns when they are promoted.

“Lay down the flowers that you have bought as gifts for me on the graves of martyrs who you know from the security forces,” he said in a speech after assuming office last month. “Put the gown that you have bought for me on the shoulders of the broken-hearted fathers of the fallen.”

He went on to discuss his determination to act “mercilessly against criminals and the enemy.” At the time, many assumed Saleh’s comments to be the usual empty political promises so often heard from Afghan politicians assuming office in recent years, particularly as attacks by militants and criminal activity increased in Kabul in the early weeks of Saleh’s tenure. 

However, it seems as though Saleh, a former spymaster, is making good on his promise. The joint measures he has instigated with Kabul’s police chiefs to crack down on crime — including naming and shaming those wanted for involvement in criminal activity — have been a success. Some arrests have already been made, and a number of individuals on the blacklist have reportedly turned themselves in for questioning.

“He has shown decisiveness and courage by naming some of the culprits. That in itself is an initiative that has made people optimistic,” security analyst and retired general Attiqullah Amarkhail told Arab News.

Saleh has also banned politicians and lawmakers from traveling with their ubiquitous security details (usually traveling in a convoy of blacked-out vehicles) inside Kabul. Unsurprisingly, that move has attracted criticism from some senators, but has been welcomed by residents and other politicians.

Zaki Nadery, a Kabul resident, said the nation was “thirsty for reform” and that people already feel more secure in the city now that steps have been taken against lawbreakers, a sentiment echoed by several people interviewed by Arab News.

“People now have a relative sense of psychological and mental security. This is the result of tangible results from the work of the new minister. People have begun to trust and respect the police,” Nadery said.