Tajik authorities reportedly step up nationalization campaign against Aga Khan operation
Eurasianet reported on July 5 that the government of Tajikistan’s campaign against the operations of a charitable organization funded by the Agha Khan, the spiritual leader of the country’s Ismaili minority, has intensified over the past few weeks.
In the most recent development, the authorities have reportedly revoked the license of the Aga Khan Lycée in Khorog, the capital of the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region, or GBAO.
A source at the Aga Khan Foundation told Eurasianet that June 30 was the last day that the secondary school would operate under its aegis.
The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), the umbrella organization under which that foundation operates, has been providing assistance to Tajikistan in education and healthcare since the early years of independence. One major achievement has been the construction of the University of Central Asia in Khorog, where teaching is carried out in English.
Eurasianet says that according to Pamir Daily News, a Telegram channel that covers events in the Pamirs, the government has to date nationalized multiple educational initiatives run by the Aga Khan Education Service.
The upmarket Serena Hotel in Khorog and the premises of the First Microfinance Bank and the Mountain Societies Development Support Program, or MSDSP, have similarly been confiscated, according to reports. And the Prosecutor's Office in the GBAO has reportedly applied with the courts to nationalize the Aga Khan Medical Center in Khorog.
A source at a Aga Khan organization has told Eurasianet that these developments have led to the loss of around 300 jobs for local people in Khorog, where unemployment is rife.
The pressure has reportedly been applied in other forms too. The Ismaili Centers in Khorog and Dushanbe, the capital, have been banned for holding events for the promotion of religious literacy.
The Aga Khan Development Network works for an economically dynamic, politically stable, intellectually vibrant and culturally tolerant Tajikistan. Several AKDN agencies collaborate to bring the government, private sector and civil society together, establish institutions and carry out programs to help with needs as diverse as banking, e-learning and avalanche prevention. AKDN covers all regions of the country and employ over 3,500 people in health care, education, business, finance and cultural activities.