Pamir Kyrgyz to hold elections for a new Khan


Ethnic Kyrgyz who live in the Pamirs in Afghanistan will soon hold elections for a new khan. This was reported by Radio Azattyk.

The Pamir Kyrgyz Khan Eraaly died on July 15, 2018. Initially the journalist Zhanyl Zhusupzhan, investigating the lives of the Pamir Kyrgyz people, told Azattyk that the son of the deceased Jeanbai would now take the place of the khan. But now the local resident Abdulvahit Zheenbek Uulu told the radio station that the Kyrgyz are going to hold elections.

Jeenbek Uulu said: “The head should be a person who can meet the officials coming here, who is able to negotiate with them, hospitable, and able to take care of the people.” According to him, the most likely winner of the elections is Azhybutu Abdilgani Uulu, born in 1974.

Khan Eraaly ruled the Pamir Kyrgyz for more than five years. He was 68 years old, and recently fell seriously ill. Shortly before his death, the Khan was transferred to the hospital of the Murgab district of the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast of Tajikistan. However, the doctors could not save his life.

Now about 400 Kyrgyz families live in the Pamirs. In 2012, when the expedition of the weekly “MK-Asia” traveled to the Pamirs, the local Kyrgyz were ruled by the 30-year-old Khan Azhy Rushan. He inherited power from his father, Khan Abdurashit. As journalists found out, Azhy Rushan did not enjoy prestige among fellow tribesmen. Perhaps it was doubt in the young Khan’s competence that later forced the Pamir Kyrgyz people to transfer leadership to the elderly Eraala.

Pamir Kirghiz live in very poor and unsanitary conditions. In addition, due to severe climatic conditions, closely related marriages, and the inaccessibility of medicine, they often get sick and die. Infant and maternal mortality is extremely high. Local conditions are not suitable even for breeding horses. Newborn foals do not survive in the highlands, so local residents purchase from plain Kyrgyz only adult horses, but not foals.

The Kyrgyz authorities in recent years have given regular humanitarian aid to the Pamir Kyrgyz. In 2017, a program to relocate the people to their historical homeland started. However, in July 2018 it became known that six months later many settlers had begun planning to return to the Pamir. In the Naryn region of Kyrgyzstan, where they were helped to move, they had to live in sheds and graze cattle, and did not find any other housing or work. In addition, they could not fit in with the local residents, who speak a different dialect of the Kyrgyz language, among other things.

Translated from