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.


Philippine president wants to end anti-drug war in three years

Updated 21 March 2019
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Philippine president wants to end anti-drug war in three years

  • Philippines being investigated for extrajudicial killings
  • Anti-drug campaign signature policy of president

MANILA: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Thursday he wanted to finish his war on drugs in three years, defying an international probe into his controversial and deadly campaign to rid the country of narcotics.
Duterte, who came to power in 2016, has made a ‘war on drugs’ the hallmark of his administration. 
But it has been reported that 20,000 people have been killed in what rights groups call a wave of “state-sanctioned violence.”
The firebrand president remains unfazed by the condemnation, and the cases filed against him by the International Criminal Court (ICC) over his crackdown.
He insisted he would assume full responsibility for any consequences due to his decision to enforce the law, telling a military audience his goals.
“I’d like to finish this war, both (with the) Abu Sayyaf (a militant group) and also the communists, and the drug problem in about three years … we'd be able (to) ... reduce the activities of the illegal trade and fighting to the barest minimum.
“I’m not saying I am the only one capable (of achieving these goals) ... I assume full responsibility for all that would happen as a consequence of enforcing the law — whether against the criminals, the drug traffickers or the rebels who’d want to destroy government.”
Earlier this month, the Philippines withdrew from the ICC, citing the global body's interference in how the country was run as the reason.
On Tuesday, ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said that investigations into alleged extrajudicial killings in the Philippines would continue despite its exit.
But the government has said it will not cooperate with the ICC, and has even warned its personnel about entering the country for the investigation.
There are Filipinos who support Duterte’s campaign, however, and believe it works. Among them is former policeman Eric Advincula.
He said there had been an improvement in the situation since Duterte came to power. 
“For one, the peace and order situation has improved, like for example in villages near our place where there used to be rampant drug peddling,” he told Arab News. 
“The price of illegal drugs is now higher, an indication that the supply also went down. Also, it was easy to catch drug peddlers before because they were doing their trade openly. But now they are more careful, you can't easily locate them.”
Official data from the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in February indicated that 5,176 ‘drug personalities’ were killed in the anti-drugs war between July 1, 2016 to Jan. 31, 2019.
More than 170,000 drug suspects have been arrested during a total of 119,841 anti-narcotics operations in the last two and a half years.