31 January 2002
DEPUTY TOLEN TOQTASYNOV: IDEA OF CREATING AQ-ZHOL PARTY ORIGINATED WITH THE GOVERNMENT
Mazhilis deputy Tolen Toqtasynov told journalists on 31 January that decision to create the Aq-Zhol Party (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 30 January 2002) was made by Kazakh government, and not by members of Kazakhstan's Democratic Choice movement. According to Toqtasynov, the rationale for doing so was to split the opposition movement Kazakhstan's Democratic Choice into two opposing parts. Kazakhstan's Democratic Choice was created by leading young Kazakh politicians in mid-November during the stand-off between Rakhat Aliyev and former governor of Pavlodar Oblast governor Ghalymzhan Zhaqiyanov. Earlier this month some of the movement's members unexpectedly announced their decision to create a new political party called Aq-Zhol (Bright Path), saying that they were not going to quit the movement.
Toqtasynov said that some leading members of Kazakhstan's Democratic Choice were named to posts in the new cabinet earlier this week. He said the Kazakh leadership is trying either to take Kazakhstan's Democratic movement under its control or to destroy the movement from the inside.
WORKERS' MOVEMENT OF ALMATY DEMANDS PUBLICATION OF RAKHAT ALIYEV'S REPORT
Members of Almaty's Workers Movement (AWM) held a press conference in Almaty on 31 January at which where they demanded that the report compiled by President Nursultan Nazarbayev's son-in-law on corruption among top Kazakh officials officials of the country be made public. According to AWM member Boris Godunov, President Nazarbayev should make the report available to every citizen of the country in order to prove that he is really committed to fighting corruption.
In November 2001 Aliyev, who at that time held the post of National Security Committee deputy chairman, warned the Kazakh government that he planned to report to the Kazakh Parliament about corruption among top officials. Aliyev was sacked from his post several days later and transferred to the position of Deputy Commander of the Presidential Guard, from which he was also dismissed earlier this month. His current whereabouts are unknown.
KAZAKH PARLIAMENT DISCUSSES AMENDMENTS TO SOME LAWS
The Mazhilis (the lower chamber of the Kazakh Parliament), on 31 January debated possible amendments to the laws on combatting terrorism and religious extremism. Nartai Dutbayev, who is Chairman of Kazakhstan's National Security Committee (the former KGB), outlined to deputies the draft laws on actions against terrorism and religious extremism. It was proposed to add several new articles concerning terrorism and religious extremism to Kazakhstan's Criminal Code, including one on illegal smuggling of and other operations with radioactive materials.
The session also discussed the definition of religious extremism and illegal religious activities. Some deputies cited the examples of some "suspicious religious sects operating in Kazakhstan, inccluding one called Akhmadia Jamiya established by a citizen of Pakistan. That sect has been operating in Kazakhstan since the beginning of 1990s, even though it has been officially banned in Pakistan.
Republican People's Party of Kazakhstan executive committee chairman Amirzhan Qosanov criticized the Kazakh government for its attempts to introduce the amendments to the above-mentioned laws. At a press conference on 31 January in Almaty, Qosanov said that the main goal of those attempts is to provide a legal foundation for future pressure on the country's opposition parties and movements.