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Try If You Want To, But Tajikistan Says No Big Birthday Parties

Tajik singer Firuza Hafizova was fined by a Dushanbe court after a video clip emerged showing her dancing and singing along with several people.

It might be your birthday, but as a local Tajik celebrity was just reminded, Tajikistan can spoil the party.

After video emerged of Firuza Hafizova celebrating her big day with song and dance, the popular Dushanbe-based singer found herself in court and short $500 for violating the country's law regulating private functions, Tajikistan state television reported on February 2.

The news report, which did not mention when Hafizova's birthday party took place, showed the singer attending her trial in a Dushanbe district court.

The so-called regulation law dictates that birthday parties should take place only "within the family circle." But the video clip posted online showed Hafizova dancing and singing along with several people identified by state TV as the singer's "colleagues."

The law was introduced in 2007 in an effort to spare citizens the expense of lavish weddings, funerals, and other gatherings, such as baby boys' circumcision parties.

Tajik President Emomali Rahmon (file photo)
Tajik President Emomali Rahmon (file photo)

It was drafted after President said that social pressure to throw extravagant celebrations was putting undue financial strain on families in the impoverished country.

The law set a limit on the cost and duration of parties, as well as a permissible number of the guests.

It was amended in 2017 to add further restrictions and tougher punishments, especially for government officials.

According to the new changes, such officials face losing their jobs if they or their immediate family members violate the regulation law.

Punishments include hefty fines that increase for repeat offenders.

Saifiddin Nazarzoda, a former director of Tajikistan's National Library, became the first government official to be removed from his post after he was tried and found guilty in September 2017 for violating the newly amended law.

Nazarzoda was accused of breaching the limit set on the number of guests at a private party that he hosted in Dushanbe.