Jammu and Kashmir Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu's statement that the state shouldn't be seen as a conflict state or a political problem, but as a society with social issues, has created political storm in the restive region. Both the separatists and his own party has strongly reacted to it.
While taking serious note of the statement made by Dr. Drabu, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Vice President Mohammad Sartaj Madni has asked the minister to retract the statement immediately if it has been reported correctly in the media. Madni advised all the senior leaders to be careful in their statements and observations while commenting on the basic political philosophy and core agenda of the party.
In his address at an event themed 'Kashmir: the way forward' in Delhi last night, Drabu argued that J&K shouldnt be seen as a conflict state and a political issue.
"It (J&K) is not a political issue as far as I can see. They have been barking up the wrong tree for the last 50 or 70 years by talking about the politics of it, that the political situation has never improved.
"We seriously need to look at in terms of how it is a society that is in search for itself," he said at the event organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Around 130 ambassadors, government officials and business leaders attended the event.
In reaction to a statement, separatist leader Yasin Malik in a statement here said "Drabu as an ample specimen of a sold-out mentality and 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." He alleged that "Drabu like collaborators want to prove their loyalty to their masters in Delhi and Nagpur by issuing statements like these but these people should know that facts don’t change by mincing words and coining new terms." Malik alleged "in 1996, Haseeb Drabu came to (APHC) Kashmir awareness bureau (KAB) office at Delhi with his friend Siddque Wahid in an auto Rickshaw. Mr. Drabu talked to me for hours and while praising our efforts for liberation of Jammu Kashmir from illegal occupation of India delivered several ideas and concepts for it."
Malik alleged "Drabu renounced resistance movement for his petty selfish gain and switched over to other side of the divide and joined Indian political system. Not only this, making a complete U-turn about Hindu-mindset he used to denounce, this person joined hands with RSS and is serving as main link between PDP and Nagpur now and delivering ridiculous statements trying to hoodwink international opinion on Jammu Kashmir."
Malik Terming the statement of Haseeb Drabu at the event organized by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India where besides "many Indians, scores of diplomats and ambassadors were also present, as an attempt to hoodwink international and Indian people." JKLF chairman said that HaseebDrabu is saying that "everyone who thinks Kashmir is a political problem is a fool."
While the PDP leader Madni said "the party recognizes Jammu and Kashmir as a political issue and ever since its emergence the Party has relentlessly been pursuing its resolution through reconciliation and dialogue , both at internal and external levels. Recalling the vision of Party Patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed , Madni, said that resolution of Kashmir problem formed core of his struggle and sacrifices."
PDP Vice President said it is unfortunate that the problem is seen by some forces in the sub-continent as a mere management assignment to contain peoples’ aspirations and the resolution commitment is being aimlessly undermined . Acknowledging the difficulties in taking the resolution issue speedily forward , he said PDP feels highly perturbed at the obvious lack of urgency in resolving this issue and reiterates its commitment to uphold Party ‘s stated objectives in which the resolution of the political issue has a paramount importance.
National Conference on Sunday said PDP’s declaration that Kashmir was not a political issue but a social issue was a "shocking and shameful" u-turn by the party which, for years, sought support and votes primarily to help in the resolution of the political issue that has claimed thousands of lives and pushed the State into the throes of instability and suffering. Addressing a press conference at NC Headquarters here, NC General Secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar said Chief Minister and PDP President Mehbooba Mufti and her party are "for their total sell-out" and said "this recent outrageous statement is the last nail in the coffin for PDP."
The NC General Secretary said Mehbooba Mufti needs to answer the following basic questions:
1. If J&K is not a political issue then what is the basis of the suffering and conflict in the State?
2. Why have thousands of people lost their lives if Kashmir is not a political issue? Did they lose their lives to a social issue?
3. India and Pakistan have fought four wars over Kashmir. In PDP’s opinion what is the cause of these wars and of confrontation between two countries if Kashmir is not a political issue?
4. Is this a formal abandonment of the party’s “Self Rule” document?
5. Why did the party stress on dialogue and resolution in its now abandoned ‘Agenda of the Alliance’ if the party believes Kashmir is not a political issue but a social issue?
6. PDP has time and again used the rhetoric of aspiring to become the bridge between New Delhi and Islamabad. If there is no political issue – what gap does PDP want to bridge?
7. Why did the Central Government appoint an interlocutor if PDP believes Kashmir is not a political issue?
“If PDP thinks that Kashmir is not a ‘political issue’ but is according to them a ‘social issue’, the very basis of the politics of PDP and that of its founder Late Mufti Sahab comes into question. Till today we were led to believe that PDP’s basis was the resolution of the political issue and its rhetorical advocacy for dialogue was a cornerstone of its narrative. Today, the same party suddenly declares that Kashmir is not a political issue and the problems we are facing are not any different from those being faced by people outside Kashmir. We condemn this statement in the strongest of terms as it reeks of fallacy, delusion and indicates an enormous ideological U-turn for the party”, the NC General Secretary said.