The eldest daughter of Uzbekistan’s President Islam Karimov has accused her sister of destructive behaviour and ties to sorcerers, in a public row that has exposed rifts in the Central Asian ruling family.
Gulnara Karimova, who is known as a pop star and fashion designer, responded publicly after her sister Lola Karimova-Tillayeva gave an interview saying they had not spoken for 12 years.
“One part of the family (our father) ‘provides’, but the other destroys and is friends with sorcerers,” Karimova, whose nickname is Googoosha, wrote on her Instagram profile on Wednesday.
Karimova also indirectly accused her sister, who heads a charity foundation, of embezzlement and destroying a religious inscription while refurbishing orphanages.
With her striking looks and prolific postings on social networking sites, Karimova has become the best-known public face of Uzbekistan, which has been ruled by their 75-year-old father since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
But her sister broke a long media silence to tell the BBC Uzbek service last month that the sisters had not spoken for 12 years and did not meet even at family events.
Karimova-Tillayeva, 35, who is Uzbekistan’s permanent representative at UNESCO in Paris, also suggested that her elder sister had little chance of succeeding their father.
Gulnara Karimova, 40, runs jewelry and cosmetics businesses and a number of charity funds. Until recently she was Uzbekistan’s permanent representative in the United Nations in Geneva and its ambassador to Spain.
Karimova’s Twitter posts and WordPress blog have disappeared mysteriously in recent weeks. Despite being an active Twitter user with hundreds of followers, she has yet to comment on the closure of her account.
In the BBC Uzbek interview last month, Karimova-Tillayeva distanced herself from her father’s policies, commenting on child labour and religious extremism.
Karimov has been criticised for using the pretext of battling religious extremism to silence any dissent.