Khorog Mayor Rizo Nazarzoda has demanded that one of the so-called informal leaders of the Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO), Mamadboqir Mamadboqirov surrender.  The mayor also called on the residents of Khorog to stop round-the-clock duty in the city.  

In a video message that was aired on the regional TV station, TV Badakhshon, on the evening of February 6, Nazarzoda called Mamadboqirov the leader of the organized criminal group in Upper Khorog (Bar Kharagh) and demanded that he turn himself in and answer for his actions in accordance with the law.  

The mayor also called on the residents of Khorog to refrain from round-the-clock duty, burning tires, setting up posts, as well as blocking roads in the city.  

According to him, such actions are illegal and criminal proceedings will be instituted against them.  

“A group of the residents of the region and its natives abroad, without any legal authority and without government bodies’ approval, gather the residents and natives of GBAO abroad, organize meetings, disseminate unfounded information and videos as well as publish illegal appeals that violate the applicable law,” the mayor stated. 

Without giving specific names, Nazarzoda claims that this illegal group has allegedly acted with prior consent and request from the organized criminal groups and been involved in putting pressure on members of city legislature to give up their powers and call new elections, threatening to denigrate them among the people.  

The mayor called urges the law enforcement agencies to take legal measures against this group of citizens.  

Meanwhile, a group of the residents of Upper Khorog took turns over the weekend guarding Mamadboqir’s home.  

Mamadboqirov is accused of assaulting the GBAO top education official Lutfullo Navrouzov on January 31.

On February 2, TV Badakhshon aired footage that it said showed Mamadboqirov assaulting Lutfullo Navrouzov.  The piece suggests that Mamadboqirov was in a state of intoxication and that he had confronted Navrouzov over a petty personal disagreement.  Mamadboqirov says he did meet with Navrouzov, but he denies assaulting him.

Speaking on TV Badakhshon, GBAO chief prosecutor Parviz Orifzoda said on February 2 that criminal proceedings were instituted against Mamadboqirov on January 31 under the provisions of four article of Tajikistan’s Penal Code: Article 328 (2) -- use of violence against a government official; Article 330 (1) -- insulting a government official; Article 147 -- violation of immunity of residence; and Article 189 – incitement of social, racial, ethnic, regional or religious enmity.

Eurasianet says Mamadboqirov said in a written appeal over the weekend that all he could be accused of was standing up to injustice perpetrated by the government.

“The lawlessness, injustice, corruption, abuse of office, violation of every human right, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press has provoked me, a lone citizen of Tajikistan, into protesting against state employees,” he wrote, according to Eurasianet.

According to some sources, government forces on February 6 gave Mamadboqirov a week’s time to give himself up to the authorities.

Mamdboqirov’s relatives told Asia-Plus that law enforcement officers had called one of his daughters and his wife to persuade him to surrender voluntarily.  

Asia-Plus’s sources in Khorog says negotiations are currently being carried out between representatives of civil society, interior minister and local government to resolve the issue.  Local clerics also met with representatives of local government and law enforcement authorities and asked them not to conduct the special operation.  

According to local residents, the residents of other districts of GBAO began to gather in Khorog several days ago.   

Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry has denied rumors about the possibility of conducting a special operation in Khorog as unfounded.  “These rumors are absolutely baseless,” Nusratullo Mahmadzoda, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, told Asia-Plus in an interview on February 7.