A seminar in New Delhi needs not to be criticized and if the Finance Minister Dr. Haseeb Drabu feels Kashmir is a social issue, he should not have been hanged. What would change if we do not call Kashmir a political issue but term it more a complex social issue?
Our issue is that we don’t like being called hypocrites and if one calls us, we get annoyed with him. Dr. Drabu’s sacking may have more to do with his personal relationships with BJP and less with what he said on Kashmir. His has become the same case as that of ex-Finance Minister and Drabu’s onetime mentor Muzaffar Hussain Beig. He was sacked for his proximity with the then Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad. And when all believed, he would not be brought back, the then PDP Chief Late Mufti Mohammed Sayeed returned him the portfolio but not before teaching him a cruel political lesson.
He too had larger than life image and all believed, he would resign from the party, create one of his own and go on to lead a group of PDP rebels for becoming the Deputy Chief Minister. But this all proved wrong. He sat silent, used Journalists and other friends to convince his godfather Late Mufti Mohammed Sayeed that he was his man. And one needs not to think much about these political stunts related to so-called intellectuals.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti sacked Drabu within minutes of reaching back. She sought no explanation from Dr. Drabu but by keeping the portfolio with herself, she has indicated, the Finance Minister would be back and Ladoos will be distributed soon. Chief Minister has called the cabinet meeting on March 20 which was scheduled to be held on March 13. This does indicate that Dr. Drabu should not be written off.
His friends have begun lobbying for him. He may soon be back in the state cabinet but after being shown the door, it should be hard for a man like Dr. Haseeb Drabu who loves lecturing whole world on Self-Respect to accept the ministry back. An Editor of a prominent valley based newspaper has already started talking about the possibility of PDP breaking-up if Dr. Drabu is not taken back. The pressure would now be created on Mehbooba Mufti to review her decision and take Dr. Drabu back.
This will be dealt later. But it is a fact that from Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to ex-Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, all like addressing seminars outside Jammu and Kashmir. Idea of intellectual exercise on Kashmir is good. It sells all over the world with takers right from Washington DC to Beijing, China. But one must question what these seminars, roundtables and workshops have achieved in the last 71 years? Have they helped in stemming violence, addressing the issue of separatism, bringing youngsters back in the mainstream, convincing terrorists especially locals to give-up arms, forcing those living on terror money to give-up the same and above all, bringing the elusive peace back in Kashmir valley?
Have these seminars strengthened the mainstream political parties of Jammu and Kashmir? Have they helped National Conference (NC) in reviving its party in Jammu region or increased the political reach of PDP? Have these seminars stopped the killing of innocents? Have these seminars improved the economic scenario of this trouble-torn state? Have these seminars inspired big business houses to invest in Jammu and Kashmir?
Have these seminars forced Pakistani establishment to stop funding, aiding and abetting terror activities from across the Line of Control (LOC)? The answer to most of these questions is a big ‘No’. Various intellectual forums and think-tanks have so far come-up with more than 76 ways of resolving the issues surrounding Jammu and Kashmir but not even has helped in improving the ground situation in Kashmir valley.
Those who have picked have no interest in the outcome of debates, seminars and symposiums. Amid this ground situation, the mainstream political parties alongwith intellectuals and Journalists should adopt some other track then continuing on this beaten track which has achieved nothing. Leaders of mainstream political parties especially PDP and NC should worry about their future then delivering lectures in these seminars, workshops and roundtables.
Ex-Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s National Conference (NC) which won absolute majority in the year 1996 has been reduced to 17 seats in the assembly elections and 1 Lok Sabha seat which elder Abdullah won by mere 3 percent votes in the parliamentary elections. The party is in shambles in Jammu region and is unlikely to repeat its 1996 performance in future. No clean sweep is possible. It has been wiped out of erstwhile District Doda, Poonch, Reasi and Rajouri districts.
It’s presence in twin districts of Rajouri and Poonch is under threat by increasing political strength of PDP, BJP and Congress. NC which once had an army of workers in erstwhile District Doda has nothing left there. And instead of strengthening itself, the leadership spends most of the time on twitter and Facebook. And if there is time left out of busy daily routine on twitter and other social networking sites, leadership spends it on addressing Harvard University scholars, seminars and workshops on Kashmir besides writing articles on national and international issues.
And what makes this interesting is complete disinterest of the party leadership in reviving its units in the areas once considered their strongholds. PDP leadership whose focus should have been reconnecting with the constituency it has lost during last 3 years, delivering on the good governance and speeding-up developmental works besides containing terrorism seems more interested in continuing with rhetoric and take virtually no steps towards strengthening democratic environment in the state. Both NC and PDP should shun this non-serous attitude and leaders should work with dedication to strengthen their party networks in the state then attend these useless seminars which are more PR exercises and less concrete attempts to address the issue.