Mehbooba sacks minister over controversial remark

J&K Finance Minister Dr Haseeb Drabu speaking to diplomats at a PHD Chamber event

J&K Finance Minister Dr Haseeb Drabu speaking to diplomats at a PHD Chamber event

Dr Drabu recently during his visit to the national capital has allegedly said that Kashmir is not a political but social issue.

Two days after state Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu said "Kashmir should not be seen as a political problem", his party today hit out at him saying that J&K was a political problem and its resolution formed the PDP's core agenda.

"Such utterances may cause further uncertainty and alienation among the masses especially youth of the state", he said.

Opposition, separatists lash out at PDP "U-turn"; Party first releases Drabu speech, says remarks "pulled out of context", then backtracks and sacks him.

Mufti-led PDP has an alliance government with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which is ruling at the Centre with prime minister Narendra Modi at the helm.

A day later, on Sunday, Drabu was served notice by J&K revenue minister and chairman of PDP disciplinary committee Abdul Rehman Veeri, asking him to explain his statement.

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Drabu's removal also puts a question mark on the future of interlocution between BJP and PDP, which is now entering a crucial phase ahead of the general elections in 2019 and state assembly polls in 2020.

Since yesterday, pressure was mounting on Drabu, who played a key role in stitching an alliance with the BJP during Mufti Mohammed Sayeed's tenure earlier and again when Mehbooba Mufti became the chief minister, after newspapers published his remarks that people were "barking up the wrong tree" as the Kashmir issue was not a political issue.

Jammu Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party (JKDFP) on Monday paid tributes to slain militants including Eesa Fazli of Soura Srinagar, Syed Owais Shah of Kokernag and their companion who were killed in Hakoora Anantnag gunfight. "Your statement has the potential of creating a serious dent in the image and credibility of the party". The chief minister is arriving from New Delhi late Monday morning.

Jammu and Kashmir Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu has triggered a controversy by claiming that the dispute in the state is "not a political issue", The Indian Express reported.

PDP vice-president Sartaj Madni, in a press statement, asked party leader Drabu to "retract the statement immediately if it has been reported correctly in the media".

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