Uzbekistan & Karakalpakstan: An expert opinion
THE Republic of Uzbekistan has once again in the regional as well as international media news.
Ironically this time it is not for its fastest growing economy or splendid culture but misperceived events by the western media and policy makers alike.
It seems that their perceptions are misconceived and misconstrued and subsequently misinterpreted because of their prejudiced, pretentious, false and fake propaganda predispositions.
Moreover, some western conspiratorial theories and imaginative assumptions have painted the situation of Karakalpakstan as political bomb, dint to New Uzbekistan’s doctrine and setback to persuasions of further politicization and democratization in Uzbekistan.
Thus the expected referendum’s importance has been intentionally undermined. It seems that Western mass media have their own self-defined norms of human rights and self-inserted clauses of human freedom, political association and last but not the least self-expression.
In this regard, let us clarify that democracy is not just a global brand of Coca Cola having the same formula and ingredients.
Every country has its own unique and functional set of rules of engagement, interaction, dialogue, people’s freedom, social cohesion, political stability and economic sustainability and Uzbekistan is not any exception.
Its governance system is the best in the region and beyond. It has its own unique model of democracy which is people’s friendly, socially accommodative, politically vibrant, economically participatory and constitutionally positive, productive and participatory in all spheres of sovereignty, territorial integrity, productive channels, distribution of resources, social justice and above all transparent, free and fair.
Thus the emerging issue of Karakalpakstan should not be considered as extra constitutional, anti-democracy and people alike.
Evidently it is an outburst of foreign criminals and merchants of darkness and ignorance. In this connection, it is worthy to mention that local government the real representatives of the soil i.e. autonomous Karakalpakstan region with majority consenting to change its status.
However, its free will was not bulldozed with the use of brutal martial power as it frequently happened in many regions of the European Union and African Continent in the near past.
Immense efforts were initiated to restore the political order through meaningful negotiations.
Thus Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev immediately scrapped the proposed constitutional changes and initiated a holistic and comprehensive political reconciliation process by involving all the main stakeholders including common people, NGOs, society, elderly, teachers, students, professionals, experts and students.
So there was no use of inappropriate government machinery to outrightly snub the feelings of local people and ethnic diversification and social equation.
However, some misled youth and polluted minds and souls protested because of the foreigner schemers and partners in crimes which produced some political uncertainty and social disorder.
President Mirziyoyev’s immaculate conceptions of political accommodation, tolerance, diversity, dignity to humanity and nationalism of the country, paved the way for greater political readjustment, reconciliation, resolution and settlement and political order was restored immediately.
Most recently, president Mirziyoyev expressed his condolences to the families of those killed during the unrest in Nukus.
President Mirziyoyev labeled external forces comprising criminal goons for this unfortunate incident.
Unfortunately, some western mass media and human rights organizations purposefully exaggerated various kinds of assumptions and published unreliable reports about the events in the city of Nukus of the Republic of Karakalpakstan.
They justified their own self transpired facts about so-called illegal use of force to disperse a peaceful rally, silencing independent voices and blocking information including by declaring a state of emergency.
In this context, the Uzbek Ministry of Foreign Affairs clarified the events in Karakalpakstan with transparent and free information.
It shared that on July 1-2, 2022, some hoodwinked souls tried to sabotage peace and stability in Nukus to undermine the constitutional order, territorial integrity and unity of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
It was a pre-planned sabotage aimed at fomenting separatism, destabilizing and splitting a peaceful, united, democratic country.
This forced the government to take all appropriate measures to restore peace. It should be noted that among the active participants in the attacks, the overwhelming majority were people who were in a state of drug and alcohol intoxication.
On its part, the government of Uzbekistan strongly condemns any illegal actions aimed at forcible seizure of power, propaganda of separatist ideas, incitement to hatred, calls for mass riots and violence.
Ultimately, suitable measures were taken and adequate actions of law enforcement agencies, illegal actions were suppressed.
All actions taken by the state to stabilize the situation in Karakalpakstan are carried out within the legal framework and are primarily aimed at preventing threats to human life and health.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan calls on all mass media and human rights organizations to approach the events in Karakalpakstan objectively, avoiding hasty conclusions and unilateral statements based on various unreliable sources.
On its part, Uzbekistan still remains committed to opening dialogue and interaction with the international community, including in matters of protecting legitimate human interests, rights and freedoms.
To conclude, Karakalpakstan’s events were not the result of any economic disparity, social depression or political isolation; rather it was pre-planned by the evil forces to sabotage peace, prosperity and productivity in this region.
Right from its inception, the state of Uzbekistan has always been giving priority to promoting the development of the Republic of Karakalpakstan.
This largest region of the country in terms of territory has large natural and raw materials and agricultural resources, labour potential, transport networks and industrial infrastructure.
Unfortunately, the sustainable development of this region is badly affected by the negative impact of the ecological crisis of the Aral Sea region, difficult climatic conditions, low population density, low quality of land and water resources, and transport remoteness of settlements.
According to UN estimates, most of the region is an arid zone, highly prone to land degradation.
However, New Uzbekistan Doctrine has been making inroads of rigorous socio-economic prosperity in this region through community development and integrated policies of people uplift through a vast network of SMEs, Micro-Financing, Cattle Banks, women empowerment, health, water, shelter and education facilities.
Thus Western propaganda of so-called economic backwardness of Karakalpakstan does not have any validity.
—The writer is Director, the Centre for South Asia & International Studies Islamabad, Regional Expert: Uzbekistan & CIS.