The following article was contributed by the Embassy of Uzbekistan in Seoul for publication by The Korea Post media, publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean-language news publications since 1985.—Ed.
As is known, these days an important political process continues in Uzbekistan – a nationwide discussion of amendments and additions to the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
According to the current legislation, Parliament is endowed with the power to introduce amendments to the Basic Law. But the President of Uzbekistan proposed to consider the relevant draft law at a nationwide discussion and adopt it by referendum.
All conditions have been created for the free expression of will and opinion of citizens based on democratic principles. But under the pretext of disagreeing with the constitutional reform, certain forces, for their selfish purposes, tried to shake up and destabilize the situation, choosing the path of aggression and violence. On July 1, in the city of Nukus, a group of people, contrary to the legitimate demands of the authorities, organized riots and attempted to seize the buildings of local government bodies hiding behind populist slogans, manipulating the consciousness and trust of citizens.
On July 2, despite the demands to stop violations of public order, these persons continued their destructive actions. Moving along the streets of Nukus, the rioters caused significant damage to infrastructure facilities, broke windows, and set fires. To seize weapons, several groups attempted to storm the buildings of the Main Department of Internal Affairs of the city of Nukus and the Department of the National Guard. Taking advantage of relative numerical superiority, they attacked law enforcement officers, beat them, inflicting grievous bodily harm.
Unfortunately, there are casualties among the civilian population and law enforcement officers.
In this regard, to ensure the safety of citizens, protect their rights and freedoms, restore law and order, a state of emergency was introduced on the territory of the Republic of Karakalpakstan from July 3 to August 2, 2022, by Decree of the President.
In this regard, on July 2 and 3, President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev met with the deputies of the Jokargy Kenes and public representatives of the city of Nukus.
At the meeting, which was held via videoconference, the Head of the state spoke with responsible officials from all districts of the region, listened to their reports on the measures taken to ensure the safety of citizens, strengthen law and order. They noted that after yesterday’s address by the President, the situation has stabilized and life is returning to normal.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev visited Jakaterek mahalla of Nukus and talked with the residents.
Local elders noted with regret that in recent events, some of the youth made mistakes and committed illegal acts, falling under the influence of external subversive forces and succumbing to emotional impulses. It was emphasized that the Uzbeks and Karakalpaks are one people with two languages, it is necessary to value and protect the unity and peace in the country.
The President met with deputies of the Jokargy Kenes, the leadership of the Council of Ministers and public representatives of the Republic of Karakalpakstan.
It was emphasized that the draft Constitutional Law “On introducing amendments and addenda to the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan” will be finalized based on the proposals and opinions of Uzbekistan people. Then the project will be submitted to the referendum of the Republic of Uzbekistan, and our citizens will express their will through free voting.
This approach is fully consistent with the principle that “The people are the only source and author of the Constitution”. And each of our compatriots will be able to proudly say: “The Constitution of New Uzbekistan is my Constitution”.
Taking into account the study of the opinions of the Karakalpakstan people, the President proposed to leave the current versions of Articles 70, 71, 72, 74, 75 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan, concerning the legal status of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, unchanged. The Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis will consider this issue in the coming days.
At the meeting, deputies and representatives of the intelligentsia delivered speeches, who noted that in recent years, large-scale work has been carried out on the socio-economic, cultural and innovative development of Karakalpakstan.
Over the past 5 years, about 11 trillion UZS have been directed to the local budget of the region. In 2020 alone, the total per capita income in Karakalpakstan increased almost 3 times.
The volume of construction work over the past 5 years has increased by 3.5 times. Dozens of new industrial productions, modern agricultural clusters, joint ventures have been created. Thousands of facilities were built in the country, including kindergartens, schools, universities, healthcare, science, culture and sports institutions.
Important programs for the social protection of the population are being implemented. In particular, financial assistance was provided to about 65,000 families included in the “iron notebook”, 17,000 families with disabled children under the age of 16, as well as those who lost their breadwinner. Since 2017, enrollment in preschool education has increased from 32 percent to 75 percent.
Within the framework of the “Obod Qishloq” (Prosperous Village) and “Obod Mahalla” (Prosperous Neighborhood) programs in the Republic of Karakalpakstan, large-scale work has been carried out to develop social infrastructure, provide the population with electricity, natural gas, drinking water, and improve the condition of irrigation and reclamation networks. Residents of the region feel the results of this work.
Active work is being carried out to protect and restore the ecological system, sustainable social and economic development of the Aral Sea region. In particular, the once backward Muynak has acquired a completely new look, turned into a modern, dynamically developing district.
For the first time, the issue of the development of the Aral Sea region is defined as a priority of state policy. On the dry part of the Aral Sea, green plantations with an area of 1,733,000 hectares have been planted. A five-year national program is being developed to restore the flora and fauna of the region.
“I firmly declare that the positive transformations being carried out in Karakalpakstan will continue at an accelerated pace. After all, the fate of Karakalpakstan is the fate of Uzbekistan, the happiness and well-being of the Karakalpak people is the happiness and well-being of the entire Uzbek people”, Shavkat Mirziyoyev said.
Deputies of the Jokargy Kenes called on the youth to show prudence, not to succumb to provocations, including external hostile forces and movements, not to become their victims.
It was noted that calls for separatism and mass riots will be strictly suppressed by the current legislation, and those responsible for this will suffer inevitable punishment.
“We all have one Homeland. We are united by a single, great goal – peace in our Motherland, the prosperity of the country and the well-being of the people. Together we will build New Uzbekistan and New Karakalpakstan”, the President of Uzbekistan said.
After the meeting, Shavkat Mirziyoyev visited a citizens’ assembly of Samanbay village in Nukus district, met with representatives of the older generation, assistants to the hokim, youth leaders and female activists.
The President emphasized that the alarming events that took place in Karakalpakstan resonated with pain in the hearts of all citizens of Uzbekistan. It is necessary to calmly and unitedly turn this page.
The participants agreed with this and expressed confidence that the wise people of Karakalpakstan will continue to adhere to the inviolable values of the unity and indivisibility of the destinies of the Uzbek and Karakalpak peoples.