Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service, known locally as Radio Ozodi, reported on February 15 that in a report released at a news conference in Dushanbe, Interior Minister Ramazon Rahimzoda has said that the explosion of a car of Salim Saivalizoda, the head of the organization of the ruling People’s Democratic Party of Tajikistan (PDPT) in the city of Kulob, is a terrorist attack that was committed by an organized terrorist group.    

According to him, a large number of people have been detained by officers of the Interior Ministry and the State Committee for National Security (SCNS) on suspicion of being involved in that crime.  The minister, however, didn’t give a specific number.

Recall, acting chief prosecutor in the Kulob region, Hamzali Muzofirov, told reporters in the city of Kulob on January 30 that eight people have been arrested in the city of Kulob on suspicion of being involved in blowing up Salim Saivalizoda’s car.  According to him, Investigation into the explosion of Saivalizoda’s car has been designated “secret.”

“After the incident that occurred in early January this year, two people were arrested on suspicion of being involved in that crime and criminal proceedings have been instituted against them under the provisions of two articles of Tajikistan’s Penal Code: Article 179 – terrorism; and Article 307 -- public calls to forcibly change the constitutional order,” Muzofirov said, noting that later six other people were arrested.

Salim Saivalizoda; photo / Radio Ozodi / Facebook.

“Currently, eight people are being under arrest, and two of them are the main suspects in the car bombing,” said acting chief prosecutor.  “They [those two main suspects] had contacts and collaborated with extremist groups.  They even videotaped their crimes.  Most of their accomplices have been identified.  And now they will also be arrested, therefore, investigation into this case has been designated “secret.”

He added that those people have also been involved in terrorist acts in other districts of the region.  Muzofirov refrained from further comments, just saying that all those arrested are residents of the city of Kulob.   

The official car of Salim Saivalizoda exploded in front of his house in Tudakafsh village on January 5.  As a result of the explosion, Saivalizoda was wounded.

Authorities reportedly found “remnants of homemade explosive device” at the scene.  

The ruling PDPT now has its offices in eighteen cities and districts across the country.  In some districts, the party rents buildings for its district organizations. 

The PDPT organizing committee was established in 1993, and the party itself was established on December 10, 1994.  Until April 1998, it was called the People's Party of Tajikistan.

The party stands for a secular state and society (secularism).

The People’s Democratic Party is the largest political party in Tajikistan, boasting more than 600,000 registered members.  President Emomali Rahmon is chairman of the party.

The party has its branches in all regions and largest settlements of Tajikistan.  The youth wing of the party is called the Sozandagoni Vatan (Creators of the Motherland).