DUSHANBE, August 23, 2012, Asia-Plus -- Several thousand people gathered outside the Khorog mayor’s office yesterday morning.  The crowd massed in the city after news emerged of the slaying of the former field commander Imomnazar Imomnazarov.

The demonstrators called on the authorities to fulfill promises to ensure safety and stability in the region.

Some demanded the resignation of the GBAO governor Qosim Qodir.  They also accused the authorities of killing Imomnazar Imomnazarov and breaking agreements on voluntary surrender of weapons and withdrawal of government troops from the region.

Speaking at the rally, Yodgor Fayzov, CEO of the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) in Tajikistan, said, “Imomnazar Imomnazarov was a real man.  He followed the commandment of the Aga Khan (Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims) and surrendered weapons.  He promised that he will not take up arms any more and he kept his word till his dying day,” said Fayzov.  “He died but he did not break his word.  On the night when they attacked him, there were no retaliatory shots.  He died like a real man, though he could gather people and arm them, but he did not do that…”

CEO of AKF in Tajikistan also noted, “Today we can be proud that residents of Gorno Badakhshan have fulfilled all conditions after July 24.”  “We have fulfilled all terms of the authorities, and therefore, residents of the region now have the right to demand the troops withdraw from the region,” said Fayzov.  “Our youth will introduce proper order in the city by themselves.  And we have reached an agreement with representatives of the authorities that the troops will be withdrawn.”

Meanwhile, Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service reported yesterday that residents of the nearby villages and the district of Rushan have also joined those gathered in Vahdat Square in Khorog.  According to some sources, the Khorog residents began to build barricades in the city again as a token of protest and their distrust in the central government.