Uzbekistan's tightly controlled media has been silent when it comes to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan's (IMU) claim of responsibility for the recent attack on Pakistan's Karachi airport. This silence seems strange given Uzbek authorities' penchant to hype the threat of terrorism as justification for their own repressive policies.
In a statement circulated online on June 10, the IMU claimed its fighters carried out the attack in Karachi as revenge for "bombardments and night attacks with fighter jets" by Pakistani armed forces in the northwestern Waziristan region. The fighting, which the IMU claimed lasted for six hours, left at least 39 dead, including the alleged IMU fighters.
As of June 13, not a single Uzbek official or semi-official media outlet had carried a report on the airport attack, or the IMU's purported involvement. Even the Uzmetronom website, which has a somewhat maverick reputation when it comes to reporting the news, has avoided the topic. Some Uzbekistan watchers believe Uzmetronom has links to Uzbek intelligence services; representatives of the news site vigorously deny any such affiliation.
At least one Uzbek media outlet ought to have reported on the IMU raid, as it appears to have monitored the Pakistani press closely in recent days: on June 11, the Uzbek Foreign Ministry’s mouthpiece, the Jahon news agency, carried a report datelined from Islamabad, repackaging a report on Uzbekistan’s cultural legacy that first appeared on the little-known Overseas Pakistani Friends blog. The headline tells you all you need to know about that report: “Uzbekistan holds the collective wisdom of mankind.”