Srinagar, March 13
Senior PDP leader Haseeb Drabu said on Tuesday that Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s decision to sack him as the state’s finance minister came as a surprise to him and added the manner in which he was informed about it was shocking.
Drabu said that he got no chance to explain his side and learnt the party’s decision through the media. The senior, however, added that he bore ill will against no one. “The decision to drop me did come as a surprise but what was shocking was the manner and method of communicating it,” Drabu, seen as the architect of the ruling PDP-BJP alliance in Jammu and Kashmir, said in a statement in Srinagar.
Drabu, the co-author of Agenda of Alliance between the two parties, was dropped from the council of ministers on Monday following his remarks that Kashmir was not a political issue. The former finance minister said he understood and accepted the party’s decision to drop him but it was painful that it was through media that he came to know about. “While I understand and accept the decision of the party, to talk to media before talking to me, was painful. I was not accorded the opportunity to explain the context and the content of my speech,” he said.
The statement issued by him reads that I deem it necessary to set the record straight.
On the PHDCCI Speech:The speech I delivered on the 9th of March 2018 focussed on a thought that has been on my mind: the role of civil society in resolving the issue of Kashmir.
Speaking to a select gathering of Ambassadors and industrialists, who could be possible investors in peace in J&K, I tried to make the point that Kashmir was not only a political issue to be resolved by the nation-state of India and the successive governments at the centre and the state, but that there is a social issue that needs to be resolved at the level of the civil society.
It was made in the larger context of how our society has been ravaged and has impaired real-life situations and sensibilities, especially of the youth.
As an example, relevant to the Ambassadors present, I quoted the case of the travel advisories of various countries, in this context, which may be politically induced but on the ground are effectively acting as a social boycott of Kashmiris.
This, I said, in turn, engenders a political thinking that is isolationist. The need as such is for civil society institutions to get involved and make interventions in their areas of influence to resolve the social issues pervading our society.
There have been innuendoes that I said this or was made to say this with an ulterior motive. The fact is that it is a long-held belief and I have repeatedly said it that the engagement with Kashmir should be at various levels. When I was the Chairman of the J&K Bank, I used to lament the fact that while as around 40% of the shareholding of the bank was with Foreign Institutional Investors, not a single Indian Institution was invested with the bank.
For the record, on 14th June 2014, I delivered a keynote address in Srinagar along the same lines. An abridged version was published on 18th June 2014 in Greater Kashmir. Only a few days back, I spoke at the Indian Econometric Conference and asked the researchers to show me a single research they would have done in J&K. I called it the “Apathy of the Academia”. The same is true for engagement at the levels of individuals, intelligentsia and trade & commerce.
Those who heard my speech or care to read it dispassionately will know that when I was talking
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