Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday sacked Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu from the cabinet after a political storm over his controversial remarks that the Kashmir issue should be seen as a social and not a political problem.
The sacking of Drabu, an eminent economist and the main architect of the BJP-PDP alliance and its agenda of governance, came a day after the Peoples Democratic Party asked him to retract what it said was "detrimental to the party's interests".
"I will not make a sales pitch here nor will I ask you for investments. That will happen. It will be a consequence of something else which I want to speak about today: your interest in Kashmir and its people, and their lives.
"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 economist-turned-politician said at the Delhi event.
Opposition parties and separatist leaders targeted the Mehboob Mufti government for Drabu's remarks saying the comments were a "proof of surrender", "misleading and distortion of history" that amounted to the PDP's sellout of its self-rule demand "to remain in power".
The PDP said it recognised the state as a political issue and had been pursuing its resolution through reconciliation and dialogue -- both at internal and external levels.
Interestingly, Drabu was the PDP's pointsman who worked out the draft of the agenda of alliance with the BJP that brought the two ideologically different parties to power after the 2014 elections produced a hung Assembly.
Drabu began his economist career in 1990 when he was appointed with the Perspective Planning Division of the Planning Commission. He was also a consultant to the Economic Advisory Council of the Prime Minister and finally with the 10th Finance Commission.
Drabu had earlier too been caught up in controversy when in March 2014 JKLF leader Yaseen Malik, a militant-turned-separatist politician, said the economist was an advisor to his group in the early 1990s when it started an insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir.
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