It’s necessary to search beyond the “either-or” option to address the Kashmir imbroglio, said Haseeb Drabu, a former financial adviser of the previous People’s Democratic Party (PDP)-Congress government in the state.
At a closed-door seminar titled ‘Kashmir — The way forward’, organised by the Greater Kashmir Foundation, Drabu said the thinking of the “civil society in Kashmir has been colonized by an obsession” with an independent state, blocking the possibility of discussions with a more open mind.
HT was the only media present at the event held on Sunday that saw Kashmir civil society — educationists, doctors, teachers, linguists, economists, writers, ex-militants — discussing the tricky topic.
“This obsession, not even formulated in any detail or even a context, colonized the mind of our civil society… This has far greater implication for the future, as indeed it has for the present, than the occupation of a territory,” he said. The event was chaired by University of Kashmir vice-chancellor Reyaz Punjabi.
Drabu regretted that inheritance of an entire generation of youth in the state is only “political schizophrenia.” Youth between 15 and 30 years of age account for 40 percent of Kashmir”s population.
Responding to a question on the economic viability of an independent Kashmir, Drabu said: “No economy of the world is unviable…It is possible.” “No economy even in a federal set-up runs independently. It is inter-related. Above all, it depends what political system is in place (in Kashmir)…We’ve resources,” he said.