Kazakh President announces action plan to address damages caused by terrorists

The article originally appeared in The Economic Times

By Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury

Kazakh President announces action plan to address damages caused by terrorists

President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, on Tuesday delivered an address at a special session of the Mazhilis (lower chamber of Kazakhstan’s Parliament) and elaborated on plans to address damages following the terrors attacks at the earliest.

The President’s address followed an unprecedented outbreak of violence which took place across Kazakhstan last week.

Tokayev confirmed that perpetrators of violence took advantage of public discontent with the increase of liquefied gas price.

Initially, peacefulrallies against the rise of gas price took place in a number of regions. Then, peaceful protests were hijacked bybandits, looters, and armed terrorists, including foreign militants. The perpetrators’ key goal is clear – they aimed at destruction of government institutions, undermining of the constitutional order, and, ultimately, the seizure of power in Kazakhstan.

“The Kazakh terrorist violence was an attempt towards the ‘Talibanization’ of the state by those forces, which overthrew the elected government in Afghanistan. The external forces including the Pindi Shura, emboldened by their success in Afghanistan, used the internally radicalised and frustrated elements to destabilise the current regime and repeat the same experiment,” Former Deputy NSA Dr S D Pradhan told ET.

Facing an unprecedented armed aggression by terrorists, Kazakhstan had to request for assistance from its partners at the Collective Security TreatyOrganisation (CSTO) and deployment of an international peacekeeping contingent.By today, the main mission of the CSTO peacekeeping force has been successfully completed. A phased withdrawal from Kazakhstan of the entire CSTO peacekeeping contingent will begin in two days and will take no more than 10 days in total.

Kazakh President said that it is very important to recognize that, at the time of inviting the CSTO contingent to Kazakhstan, the country was in danger of ceding control over its biggest city, Almaty, to terrorists. “If we had lost Almaty, we could have then lost the entire country. The risk was particularly high given that Kazakhstan’s National Security Committee, a key counter-terrorismagency, failed to timely identify a critical threat to the national security.”

During the session, Tokayev nominated Alikhan Smailov, former Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, as the new Prime Minister of Kazakhstan. The Lower House voted Smailov in for the new office. The new Prime Minister was given three weeks to prepare and present the Government’s Action Plan for 2022.

Tokayev has put forward a number of initiatives designed to addressthe current crisis and support long-term well-being of the people of Kazakhstan.

Overcoming the crisis

Almaty and other regions that suffered damage will be restored and rebuilt as soon as possible. Normal operation of financial system, transport sector, food supply chains will be restored shortly. The President stressed that it is his personal obligation and the responsibility of the Government.

The overall situation in Kazakhstan is currently stable. But it is crucial to successfully complete the ongoing counter-terrorist operation, fully restore law and order in the country.

A special investigation task force has been instructed to bring to justice all the militants and their accomplices involved in crimes against civilians, reveal all causes and details of the tragedy.

Supporting the public, domestic and foreign investors

Pressing ahead with the reform agenda

The creation of a new economic platform is key. The goal of the Government’s economic policy is to develop a full-fledged market economy with a proper social orientation. Diversification of the economy through the development of the manufacturing industry and the support of a fair economic competition are the foundations of this policy.

The Government will announce measures to rid the civil service of corruption, formalism, and red tape. The President announced that he will issue a separate decree on the “de-bureaucratisation” of the government apparatus.

Kazakhstan will press ahead with the President’s policy of swift political modernisation. President Tokayev has already implemented four packages of political reforms. The fifth major package of political reforms will be unveiled in September, during the President’s State of the Nation Address.

The programme of continued political and economic transformation will proceed further. The Government will work with the expert community and civil society to prepare a package of proposals, which will be considered at ameeting of Kazakhstan’s National Council of Public Trust.

President Tokayev announced a five-year moratorium on the increase in salaries of top government officials and regional mayors. At the same time, the salaries of lower level public sector employees will continue to grow.

The disproportion in the economic development of various regions of Kazakhstan will be addressed by the Government. The Government has been instructed to prepare a set of measures to level up the regions that are “lagging behind” economically.

The Government will allocate educational grants for young people who live in densely populated provinces of Kazakhstan. The President instructed the Government to open overseas branches of at least five major foreign universities by 2025 and develop a programme to attract best teachers to provinces.

Samruk-Kazyna sovereign wealth fund as well as the Development Bank of Kazakhstan will be subjected to detailed review and audit to ensure that their policies benefit the people of Kazakhstan.

Full review and audit will also be conducted to combat corruption, ensure transparency and efficiency of customs and border control procedures at some of the key facilities on Kazakhstan’s border.

In order to strengthen national security and efficiently counter all types of threats, the entire national security system will be reorganised, including Armed Forces, law enforcement agencies, national security agencies, and intelligence service. State borders will be strengthened, circulation of firearms in the country will be strictly monitored. The entire national security system should work for one purpose – to ensure the most effective protection of Kazakhstan’s citizens, constitutional system and national sovereignty against threats of any nature and scale.