DUSHANBE, June 22, 2015, Asia-Plus -- The Islamic Revival Party (IRP) states it will not participate in celebrations to mark a National Unity Day.

IRP deputy leader Mahmadali Hayit told a news conference in Dushanbe today that IRP leader Muhiddin Kabiri is going to return to Tajikistan this week after a long business trip but the party activists advise him not to return home.

“We advise Muhiddin Kabiri not to return to Tajikistan until a real peace is reestablished in the country, until the authorities stop pressure on the IRP members,” Hayit noted.

Asked about mass withdrawal of heads of the IRP organizations in the regions from the party, the IRP deputy leader noted that the majority of them had left the party under the pressure of the law enforcement authorities.

We will recall that Ferghana News reports that IRP leader Muhididn Kabiri believes he could face criminal prosecution in Tajikistan.  He reportedly noted that at an international conference in Moscow on June 17.  “I am surprised by announcements state-owned mass media carried on the eve of a holiday [The National Unity Day celebrated on June 27] on a criminal case in preparation against me, allegedly because I incorrectly sold my property 17 years ago.  What criminal case [could be brought against me] if that was my private property?  In any event, if there are questions I need to respond to, they could be discussed after the holiday; after all, I was a member of parliament twice over these 17 years and there were many amnesties,” Kabiri was quoted as saying by Ferghana News.  IRP leader referred to an article the  Jumhuriyat  newspaper, an official mouthpiece of the Tajik government, carried on June 16. The newspaper earlier accused the party of involvement in terrorism.

Founded in October 1990, the Islamic Revival Party of Tajikistan is the only Islamic party officially registered in former Soviet Central Asia.  The IRP was registered on December 4, 1991.  It was banned by the Supreme Court in June 1993 and legalized in August 1999.  According to some source, the IRP now has some 50,000 members.

Since 1999, the party has reportedly been the second-largest party in Tajikistan after the ruling People''s Democratic Party of Tajikistan.

In the 2005 and 2010 parliamentary elections, the IRP won two out of 63 seats in the parliament, but in the 2015 parliamentary polls the party failed to clear the 5 percent threshold needed to win parliament seats.

The party leaders said the elections were not fair and alleged fraud in vote-counting.