The Pamir Gate triggers a geopolitical crisis.
For the Pamiri ethnic minority and the inhabitants of the Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO) in Tajikistan, the month of May is a reminder of the dark past. Of death, oppression, violence, fear, flight, and resistance.
On May 14, 2022, an uprising broke out in Khorog, the capital of GBAO, the homeland of the Pamiris.
About 1,000 people gathered to peacefully demand the resignation of regional official Alisher Mirzonabatov, contemptuously called “The Butcher of the Pamirs”, and the fair investigation into the death of Gulbidin Ziyobekov, a resident of the region who was killed by security forces in November 2021.
Instead of listening to the concerns, the authorities issued an ultimatum to the locals to break up the demonstrations. After the intervention of the various special forces of the regime, 33 citizens were dead, many were seriously injured and missing.
An eyewitness describes the bloody days of May 2022 as the darkest hour of the “beast” that could murder Pamiri with impunity. The numbers of dead and missing are still unclear.
As May 16 approached, authorities shut down the internet and mobile networks across the region, and it was reported that they remained cut off until the end of June 2022, making it extremely difficult to receive up-to-date information and news from this region.
Reports and encounters widely circulated on social media based on eyewitness accounts showed that security forces arbitrarily searched homes, confiscated mobile phones and arrested innocent residents.
There are also numerous explicit reports of torture and premeditated extrajudicial executions of the locals detained during this operation carried out by the regime.
“In May 2022, tyranny began, when silent protests demanding the resignation of regional leader Alisher Mirzabatov – “The Butcher of the Pamirs” and an investigation into the death of Gulbidin Ziyobekov became a tragic end for the Pamiri locals.”
Attacks by President Emomali Rahmon’s security forces on civilians continued on May 17, 2022. On May 18, 2022, the Ministry of Interior announced that it would conduct an “anti-terrorist operation” in the Rushan district, where mobile, landline and internet communications were subsequently interrupted and people were denied the right to leave or enter the district. The violence spread as local residents tried to block the road to Khorog with their cars to prevent a military convoy from passing.
The crackdown in Rushan led to casualties among the demonstrators. Local witnesses reported that snipers and military helicopters were on the move in the city to shoot at civilians. The violent dispersal in Khorog left several dead and wounded.
On 22 May 2022, the regime reported the assassination of Mamadbokir Mamadbokirov, an influential local leader and a hero fighting against President Rahmon’s authoritarian regime. He was shot dead by government security forces.
Mamadboqir Mamadboqirov, known locally as Colonel Boqir, was originally a military commander of the Tajik Pamiris during and after the civil war and was deployed as a security force on the country’s border with Afghanistan, China and Kyrgyzstan.
Colonel Boqir was one of the last independent leaders in the autonomous region and the popular leader of his neighborhood. Under his leadership in the community, Khorugh had one of the most vibrant and independent civil societies in Central Asia.
It was reported that on May 22, 2022, Colonel Boqir was killed by security officers with a shot to the head. Another young man was killed and another injured when they tried to protect him.
Many in the region who have supported Colonel Boqir consider him a hero of the Pamiri. Thousands of people came to his funeral, despite roadblocks. Hundreds of Pamiri youths now use the photo of Colonel Boqir as their Facebook avatar.
The assassination of Colonel Boqir signaled the end of an era of independent and autonomous leadership in the GBAO and the beginning of a new phase in the struggle for survival in the Pamirian community.
Many of the heroic deeds of the Pamiri are not known. The veil of secrecy and the contribution of Pamiri to stop the Al Qaeda and Taliban hinder the Pamiri from demonstrating their place in history.
The regime is losing momentum to involve the Pamirs of Tajikistan in the protection of the country. Isolation, ignorance, and arrogance characterize the political approach of the Rahmon regime and its possible successor. Typical violent laws create a boomerang effect with the population, not exclusively the Pamiris but ordinary Tajiks.
Many Pamiris believe that their freedom of expression, association and religion is being restricted, which is what the regime wants to administer in GBAO. They fear living under a securitized surveillance state. Many try to leave for fear of being arrested, tortured or killed.
Currently, many Pamiris fled abroad. The ongoing Pamiri diaspora is key to the future of the region. According to reliable news from Western intelligence services, the rural exodus of the Pamiris is being supported by the regime in order to get a grip on the Pamiris’ land in order to sell it to Chinese, Russian and regime nationals. faithful hands to forgive.
“The procedure is well known,” said an expert on land expropriation of the worldwide NGO, Viva Campesinos, “the land, rich in resources, we stole by force to sell it at a high price, again and again Friends of the Regime”.
The flight into the distance will trigger a new refugee crisis in Europe and especially in Germany. The first signs of the coming crisis can already be seen. Refugees from Tajikistan are already arriving at German airports. Authorities are overwhelmed, understand neither the background nor the language. Dark clouds of a political and humanitarian crisis are on the horizon.
Resistance is growing.
The new leaders in the diaspora are organized, educated and engaged and were mobilized and further politicized by the crackdown in May. Many of the Pamiri diasporas are strongly committed to stopping human rights abuses by the current tyrannical government of Tajikistan.
“We will never bend ours and we will not give up our autonomy.”
These are the words of Colonel Boqir in a video he made in February 2022, three months before he was assassinated. The murdered Colonel Boqir is a Pamiri martyr against tyranny and injustice.