Uzbek President Islam Karimov's independence day speech read out on TV

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Islam KarimovImage source, AFP/getty
Image caption,
The Uzbek government has admitted Mr Karimov is receiving treatment

A state TV presenter in Uzbekistan has read out an independence day speech on behalf of President Islam Karimov, who is said to have suffered a stroke.

One of his daughters insisted that public support was helping Mr Karimov recover and pleaded for people not to speculate over his condition.

Opposition news reports have suggested that Mr Karimov has died.

Mr Karimov, 78, has been leader of the former Soviet republic since before independence in 1991.

In the speech, remarks attributed to Mr Karimov congratulated Uzbeks on independence, which was said to have removed the "chains of totalitarian regime" and given Uzbeks an "opportunity to build a free and prosperous life".

On Sunday, the Uzbek government admitted Mr Karimov was receiving treatment but did not give details.

The BBC's Abdujalil Abdurasulov says that the announcement caught many by surprise in authoritarian Uzbekistan, a country where any information about the president's health is treated like a state secret.

The next day, the president's daughter, Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva, confirmed that her father had suffered a brain haemorrhage.

Mr Karimov was last seen on state TV on 17 August, meeting the South Korean interior minister.

The president would always attend independence day celebrations.

The government cancelled some events, including a concert on Wednesday and a fireworks show on Thursday.