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Former J-K finance minister Drabu says pained at sacking without being heard

Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti sacked finance minister Dr Haseeb Drabu from the council of ministers following his remarks that Kashmir was not a political issue.

india Updated: Mar 13, 2018 20:25 IST
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria
Former Jammu and Kashmir finance minister Haseeb Drabu.
Former Jammu and Kashmir finance minister Haseeb Drabu.(PTI Photo)

A day after he was sacked for his controversial remarks on the nature of the Kashmir dispute, former Jammu and Kashmir finance minister Haseeb Drabu said on Tuesday that he was pained at the way he was dismissed without an opportunity of being heard.

“While I understand and accept the decision of the Party, to take 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 in a statement.

He said that he had no formal or even personal communication either from the government or from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) about his being dropped from the cabinet on March 12 and that the manner and method of communicating the decision was shocking.

“I called the CM residence in New Delhi and was told that CM was busy and would call me back in 10 minutes. That call never came. By early afternoon I called up the CM residence and sought an appointment. Even as I was waiting for it, it was reported on the website of the daily Greater Kashmir that the CM had decided to drop me from the council of ministers and had written to the Governor to this effect. I finally got a call to meet the CM at 7.15 pm,” he said.

Drabu said his speech at the PHDCCI programme on March 9 was focused on a thought, which had been on his 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,” he said.

Drabu said that it was made in the larger context of how society in Kashmir has been ravaged and has impaired real-life situations and sensibilities especially of the youth.

The former minister also said there was a need for civil society institutions to get involved and make interventions in their areas of influence ‘to resolve the social issues pervading our society’.

“There were innuendoes that I said this or was made to say this with an ulterior motive,” he said.

“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,” he said.

Drabu also denied going against the PDP’s stated political position.

“Those who heard my speech or care to read it dispassionately will know that when I was talking about our aspirations and the efforts at self-discovery, I was in fact nuancing the very stand of the People’s Democratic Party before a very select audience,” he asserted.

Drabu also invoked PDP founder, the late Mufti Mohammed in his defence.

“As for my understanding of the political ideology of PDP, it is based on my drafting of various election manifestoes, the aspirational agenda, and the all-important Self Rule document, which Mufti Sahib involved me in,” he said.

He also recalled how the terms and conditions based on which the current PDP-BJP alliance was formed, the Agenda of alliance, was drafted under his guidance.

Drabu, however, said that he harboured no ill will against anyone.

“That’s simply not my way of being,” he said.