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Political parties in Tajikistan are at odds over a decision to celebrate Mother's Day on March 8, which was previously marked as International Women's Day, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Tajik President Emomali Rahmon made the change to Mother's Day in a decree in 2009. In a TV address to mark Mother's Day on March 8, Rahmon stressed the "special regard and respect" Tajiks have for mothers.

Saidumar Husayni, a deputy head of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan and member of the lower house of parliament (Majlisi Namoyandagon), told RFE/RL his party supports the celebration of Mother's Day.

But Tajik Communist Party leader Shodi Shabdolov, also a parliament member, said his party advocates celebrating International Women's Day on March 8 and Mother's Day on another day.

He said International Women's Day has a 100-year history and a broader meaning because it is a day in solidarity with women and recalls the fight for women's right to vote, to be elected, to have equal opportunities, etc.

Tajik poetess Robia pointed out that Mother's Day is limited to a particular category of women. She said thousands of women who are not mothers are excluded from celebrating the holiday and will not receive a gift or bouquet of flowers.