Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir shouldn’t be seen as a conflict state or a political problem, but as a society with social issues, Jammu and Kashmir’s Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu has said.
Speaking at an event themed ‘Kashmir: the way forward’, Drabu asked the people to “introspect” over the nature and origins of the situation in the state and how it can be resolved. “We need to talk to ourselves before we talk to others and this must happen nationally as well,” he said.
“I will not make a sales pitch here nor will I ask you for investments. That will happen. It will be a consequence of something else which I want to speak about today: your interest in Kashmir and its people, and their lives. For, Kashmir is not just a political problem, but a social issue. Our society has been ravaged and we need to address that first. It is in this we seek your help,” he had said.
Drabu concluded the speech saying, “Don’t see Kashmir as a conflict state; it is not. See it as a society in turmoil and transition which is trying to rediscover its moorings. It is in this that interactions such as this one can help. I am very grateful to the PHD chambers for organizing this event and will go a long way in finding the way ahead.”
The statement has created a political storm of sorts, with Senior People’s Democratic Party members asking Drabu to come clean on the statement.
Asserting that Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has “merged” with Bharatiya Janata Party, Opposition National Conference on Sunday asked Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to explain if remarks of her party leader and finance minister Haseeb Drabu that Kashmir “isn’t a political issue but a state with social problems”, reflected official position of the PDP and surrender of its Self-Rule policy.
“The statement of Haseeb Drabu that Kashmir is not a political issue is unrealistic, incorrect, misleading and distortion of history,” NC general secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar told a press conference.
Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF)
Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) reacted sharply to the statement made by senior Finance Minister that Kashmir was not a political issue and leveled serious allegations against him.
“Haseeb Drabu’s statement is a classic example of a person trying to act like a lawyer in politics who has no ideology, faith and ethics but is always ready to represent his clients’ wishes and whims,” JKLF chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik said in press statement.
Malik was reacting to media reports about Drabu’s statement issued during a conclave organized by Indian PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry at New Delhi last week.
APHC spokesman said that such falsehood is part of the propaganda being deliberately built, to mislead and misdirect audiences in order to dilute the reality of the Kashmir dispute and weaken the discourse on Kashmir.
The spokesman said that unfortunately for the people of Kashmir while they are strongly resisting military control to assert their will, the self-serving ambition and extreme opportunism of such individuals for power, fame and wealth greatly raises the cost for them. These individuals for the realization of their ambitions become voluntary tools in the hands of oppressors and act as their mouthpiece whom the oppressor uses and discards as suits its interests.
“Successive governments in India have patronised and promoted such people, to systematically weaken and erode the Kashmir cause and gradually strengthen its own grip over J&K as is evident before us,” said a spokesman.
Sartaj Madni, Senior PDP Leader
Ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has asked party leader and state’s Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu to immediately retract his statement that Jammu and Kashmir should not be seen as a conflict state or a political problem, saying the state was a political issue and its resolution formed the party’s core agenda.
“The party takes serious note of the statement made reportedly by Haseeb A Drabu in a function at New Delhi regarding nature of problems in J-K and has asked the minister to retract the statement immediately if it has been reported correctly in the media,” PDP vice-president Mohammad Sartaj Madni said here.
PDP MLC, Zaffar Iqbal Manhas
In response to the statement of PDP leader and Minister for Finance Haseeb Drabu, in which he has said Kashmir is not an issue nor there is any conflict, instead there are some social issues, PDP leader and MLC Zaffar Iqbal Manhas said that “I am not sure in what background or frame of mind Dr Haseeb Drabu has given this statement; if this is slip of his tongue then he should come clean on that.”
Manhas added, “If he stands by what he has said, then it is not an ordinary statement or something which should not be contested, because this is a serious issue and can’t be ignored by just terming it “his own viewpoint.” Dr Drabu is not only an important figure in the government but also holds important positions within the party, so something he has said which goes against the very stand and ideology of the PDP should be taken serious note of.”
Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry
The business community in the Valley also hit out at state Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu for his statement that Jammu and Kashmir was not a political issue, saying the remarks were far from the truth as the whole world recognized it as a political issue pending a solution for the last 70 years.
“The KCCI (Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry) is disgusted while going through the statement by the minister of finance. The comment made by him terming Kashmir as a social issue is far from the truth when the whole world recognises it as a political issue pending for a solution for the last 70 years,” KCCI president Javid Ahmed Tenga said in a statement.
The KCCI president said by using the platform of an organisation which is based in Delhi, “attempts are being made to dilute the narrative of Kashmir and an impression is being created particularly in front of ambassadors present on the occasion.”
Communist Party of India (M), M Y Tarigami
Senior CPI(M) leader and MLA M Y Tarigami said the problem of Jammu and Kashmir has been there since the accession of the state to the Indian union and its political nature cannot be overlooked.
Tarigami was reacting to the statement of state Finance minister Haseeb Drabu who yesterday had said Jammu and Kashmir shouldn’t be seen as a conflict state or a political problem, but as a society with social issues.
Jammu and Kashmir Coordination Committee (JKCC)
The Jammu and Kashmir Coordination Committee (JKCC), an amalgam of apex trade, industrial, tourism, travel, horticulture and civil society formations, has strongly condemned the State Finance Minister for falsely projecting Kashmir anything other than a political issue.
In a statement JKCCC said that while analyzing the speech of the minister at PHD Chamber’s so-called event, the members observed that by bringing in newer bizarre and ridiculous narratives to the Kashmir dispute, this minister wishes to walk an extra mile to please his bosses by selling off whatever is left of his soul and conscience. The members felt that he has actually made himself a laughing stock before a group of ‘Ambassadors’ who are all well known about the 70-year-old internationally acknowledged political dispute of Kashmir which also happens to be an unfinished agenda before United Nations.