DUSHANBE, April 28, 2011, Asia-Plus -- “The Public Council of Tajikistan was established in the midst of the civil confrontation in the country just against the United Tajik Opposition (UTO).  By establishing this council the authorities wanted to show to international community that many political parties, public associations and clerics in the country are supporters of constructive and peaceful dialogue with the government,” known Tajik religious leader and politician Hoji Akbar Turajonzoda told Asia-Plus in an interview.

Today, there is no need for the Public Council, because it does discuss and resolve any acute problems facing Tajik society, he noted.  According to him, there have been no any real discussions on serious subjects during the Council’s meetings.

“I have never been member of the Public Council, but according to some of its members, the Council meets one or twice a year just for the sake of appearances, while president’s participation in work of the Council reminds me of one gate game (one-way street).  The president usually speaks on any subject and leaves, without knowing opinions of the Council members,” Turajonzoda said.       

The Public Council of Tajikistan was established in April 1996 on the basis of the Public Accord Agreement signed first on March 9, 1996 for the period of three years by pro-government political parties and NGOs in a show of support for the peace process.  It was prolonged for further three years in 1999.

The Public Council now comprises representatives of state bodies, political parties, religious organizations and civil society.  Seven of eight officially registered political parties of the country were represented in the Public Council; the Social Democratic Party (SDPT) has never been member of the Public Council.  The Public Council established the Social partnership Club, which brings together some 70 representatives of the Public Council to discuss and find consensus on pressing social issues.

The Islamic Revival (IRP) and Democratic (DPT) parties decided to withdraw from the Public Council of Tajikistan in March 2010 in protest against the official results of the February 28 parliamentary elections in the country.