The events, adventures, and details related with the Second Congress of the Birdamlik People’s Democratic Movement, planned to be held in Shymkent but disrupted to be held at the address by the government of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan clearly demonstrated that the government of Uzbekistan is still aggressive to opposition.

In fact, together with the members of Birdamlik, I felt beforehand that the negative attitude of the government of Uzbekistan to the activities of the Movement is still the same as it was during Islam Karimov’s ruling, and during Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s presidency, this attitude towards Birdamlik has not changed to positive for a jot.

This can be definitely seen by the facts that the written applications of the leader of the Movement (now Party) Bakhodir Khan Turkiston for the purpose of legalisation of the activities of the Birdamlik PDP, its registration at the Ministry of Justice of RUz were left without any response, his letters of applications to the name of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Chairman of NSS of the Republic of Uzbekistan were left unanswered, Bakhodir Khan Turkiston’s application to the embassy of Uzbekistan in the USA for obtaining a visa to come to Uzbekistan for holding the Congress was not satisfied, in addition the fact that the persecution and other pressure means against the activists of Birdamlik who lie in Uzbekistan has not been stopped for moment. In short, until now, the government of Uzbekistan has persistently been preventing Birdamlik PDM from normal activities. The fact that the pre-Congress meeting of Birdamlik PDM in Tashkent on the 15 of September was not held, or was not allowed to be held to be exact, can be the right proof of this. On this very day, at 08:00 o’clock in the morning, officers of Internal Affairs department invaded to the Tashkent house of the leader of Biurdamlik in Uzbekistan Qakhramon Makhmud and without demonstrating the relevant documents of the respective law enforcement bodies, they took him to the Department of Internal Affairs of Olmazor district of Tashkent and kept him there illegally from 08:00 am till 17:00 pm. the same situation happened to Zafar Khandamov, Birdamlik’s Samarqand region activist. According to instructions from NSS, Safar Khandamov was kept at the Department of Internal Affairs of Qushrabot district of Samarqand region from morning until the evening. This wasn’t the end of the adventures. The government authorities made the Chashmai Nur” café staff close the facility at Fergana Yuli Street of Mirobod district in Tashkent where Birdamlik people were to hold their pre-Congress meeting. Thus, while the more Birdamlik continues trying to run its activities the more the government and NSS activists are doing more and more work hideously, against existing laws. The various events that happened to about 50 activists on their way to Shymkent town of Kazakhstan to participate at the Second Congress of the Movement on the 15 of November. Starting from the 10 of November, serious control was established on activities of the activists of the Movement. Officers of the internal affairs bodies went to houses of certain activists and illegally confiscated their passports, and the Border officials did not allow those who managed to reach the Uzbek border to cross this border. And on the 14 of November, after I and my associates Klara Juraeva, Rustam Pulatov, Zafar Khandamov arrived to the address of the Congress to be held were deported under strong pressure and persecution from the territory of Kazakhstan by Kazakhstan side at the request and requirement of the government of Uzbekistan and NSS of Uzbekistan. To cut the long story short, the government of Kazakhstan danced to the tune, played by the government of Uzbekistan. In addition, the leader of Birdamlik PDM was not allowed to enter the territory of Kazakhstan. Thus, holding of the Congress at the established address in personal participation of activists was put an end. However, on the 15 of November the Congress was held online at highest degree. The Movement achieved its objectives. On this day, the Birdamlik PD Movement was reorganised to Birdamlik People’s Democratic Party. The Programme and Charter of the party were approved. After heated discussions, Bakhodir Khan Turkiston was elected chairperson of the Birdamlik PDP. Not only the Birdamlik party achieved its objectives, it had a beautiful victory over the ruling class of Uzbekistan, who think that this is a democratic state where the supremacy of law is insured…

In my mind, by fighting against holding the Second Congress of Birdamlik PDP made a very serious mistake. As I said earlier, they openly demonstrated their intolerance. This turned those actions that are being implemented in life, removal of names of some opposition representatives from their black lists, from international want-lists, also, allowing negotiations with the representatives of opposition, permitting them return to Uzbekistan etc. into some simply symbolic, cosmetic works, and once again, they disgraced themselves in front of international community. Personally, I want to see my beloved Uzbekistan in one place with wealthy, powerful countries. However, in order to turn into a wealthy and strong state from today’s poor backward country, where the laws do not work, the government is very corrupted, and where human rights are not taken for anything, the government of Uzbekistan should definitely be tolerant to opposition, be able to listen to the ideas of opposition, fight with opposition equally in the political field. With the purpose of contributing into development of our Uzbekistan, trying to see and admit the achievements of the state, we should always look at the shortfalls, defects and other negative views from the opposition point of view. Only in that case, our Uzbekistan, which was once the home of great famous people, but now is in miserable state, will flourish. Only then, we will be able to proudly raise our heads and say: “I come from Uzbekistan!” Only in that case, we will get rid of the stamp: “the son of the land that supplies labour migrants and whores.” And live with proud that we are children of the land, whose ancestors were great people.

Ruziboy Azimy,

Independent journalist

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