MOSCOW, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 2nd September, 2016) - Uzbek President islam Karimov, who has dominated the ex-Soviet nation for over 25 years, was in critical condition after his health worsened "sharply", authorities said Friday, with no clear successor lined up. Speculation over the president's condition has swept the very tightly-controlled Central Asian nation since Sunday when officials said he had been hospitalised, with opposition media based abroad claiming he had already died.
And rumours over his fate were further inflamed when Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildirim on Friday said Karimov had died, extending Ankara's condolences. Details of Karimov's condition were laid out on Friday in a statement posted on an Uzbek government website. "Dear compatriots, it is with a very heavy heart that we inform you that yesterday the condition of our president deteriorated sharply and, according to doctors, it is evaluated as critical," it said.
The terse announcement -- also carried by state newspapers and television on Friday -- confirmed officially for the first time that Karimov, 78, had suffered a stroke last Saturday. The veteran leader's youngest daughter Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva had on Monday announced on social media that he was in intensive care after a cerebral haemorrhage, describing his condition as "stable". Two days later, she hinted that he was making a recovery.
The opposition Ferghana news agency, which is based in Russia, on Thursday said preparations were under way for Karimov's funeral in Samarkand, his hometown, where streets were being cleaned and parts of the city centre were cordoned off. A diplomatic source in neighbouring Tajikistan said President Emomali Rahmon was to fly to Uzbekistan on Saturday, without saying where he was heading or why. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that former Soviet master Moscow had "no news" on Karimov's possible death and was waiting for official information.