Drabu’s Kashmir views snowball into major political controversy

FM releases verbatim, says party is supreme

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Mar 11: Finance Minister and PDP leader Dr Haseeb Drabu’s statement that Kashmir is not a political problem but involved only social issues today snowballed into a major controversy with PDP Disciplinary Committee seeking an explanation from him, the party asking him to retract the statement and Opposition including National Conference jumping into the crisis describing the statement as “very serious” and “unrealistic”.
Drabu also released verbatim of the speech delivered by him at the annual `Ambassadors’ Meet’ organized by PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry at New Delhi on March 9.
“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,” the text quoted Drabu as saying on the controversial part of his speech.
Drabu told the Excelsior that what he wanted to convey was that Kashmir is not only a political issue but a social issue as well.
“Degradation of society will be reflected in politics because there are social issues involved in the society,” he maintained.
However, the PDP Disciplinary Committee met this afternoon after Drabu’s statement which appeared in media today creating ripples in the party, which has all along been maintaining that Kashmir is a political problem.
Chaired by Revenue Minister Abdul Rehman Veeri, chairman of the Committee, the Panel asked Drabu to explain ‘contradictory’ statement on Kashmir issue
“The statement attributed to you about the nature of problem of Jammu & Kashmir has been reported in the news papers for last two days in which you are reported to have said that J&K is not a political problem but involves only social issues,” read the text of explanation sought from Dr Drabu by the Disciplinary Committee.
“As you are aware this contradicts this very belief and core agenda of the party which you reportedly said at highest level,” said the Disciplinary Committee in its notice to the Finance Minister.
The notice issued to Dr Drabu read: “your statement has the potential of creating a serious dent in the image and credibility of the party.
“Therefore you are advised to explain as to why statement detrimental to the party interests was made.”
Dr Drabu said the party is supreme and he will submit all details to the Disciplinary Committee.
Meanwhile, asking Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu to retract his statement that Jammu and Kashmir should not be seen as a political problem, PDP vice president Sartaj Madni, who happens to be Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s maternal uncle, said his party recognizes J&K as a political issue and its resolution forms PDP’s core agenda.
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.
“PDP 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,” he said.
Recalling the vision of PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Madni said that resolution of Kashmir problem formed core of his struggle and sacrifices.
The 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.
Opposition parties also reacted to Haseeb Drabu’s statement.
National Conference termed the statement as “politically incorrect” in which he had said that Jammu and Kashmir should be seen as a society with social issues instead of conflict State or a political problem.
Addressing a press conference at National Conference headquarters ‘Nawa-e-Subha’ in Srinagar, NC general secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar, who was flanked by NC provincial president Nasir Aslam Wani and State spokesperson Junaid Mattu, asked the PDP to explain the statement.
“We want PDP to clarify if this was the final and formal abandonment of the party’s ‘Self Rule’ document which till now was being portrayed as the party’s supreme vision document.”
Sagar alleged the Minister’s declaration has called into question the basics of PDP over the years. He added that if it was not the political issue why were four wars fought over it.
“India and Pakistan have fought four wars over Kashmir. Why were the wars fought? Why did the Central Government appoint an Interlocutor if PDP believes Kashmir is not a political issue? Why are people dying here,” he asked.
Speaking on the occasion, NC provincial president Nasir Aslam Wani alleged that the PDP is exploiting the political sentiment of people by such statements. “We remember the slogans of dual-currency and self-rule propagated and advocated by the same party that is now denying the existence of the political sentiment in the State,” he added.
Chairman PDF and MLA Khansahib Hakeem Mohammad Yaseen also expressed strong reservations over the latest statements of some mainstream political parties on the genesis of Kashmir imbroglio adding that it is an internationally recognized political issue which awaits amicable resolution since last several decades.
In a statement, Hakeem Yaseen said that it was most unfortunate that some leaders are giving ambiguous statements over the genesis of Kashmir issue to sell it for their personal gains notwithstanding the fact such utterances may cause further uncertainty and alienation among the masses especially youth of the State.
He said such mainstream parties should go for self introspection to know that people of the State are mature enough who cannot be usurped to satiate their personal agenda .He has advised such mainstream leaders to come out of the illusion that Kashmiris could be again sold out for their personal agenda as it was sold earlier by deceiving the trust and faith of the Kashmiri people.
He said it was due to follies of the self centered leaders that the Kashmir problem came into existence which is eating vitals of the socio-economic advancement of the both neighbouring counties of Pakistan and India along with the hapless Kashmiris.