J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti sacks finance minister Haseeb Drabu over controversial remarks

Confirming the decision, party's vice-president Sartaj Madni said a letter has been sent to the governor N.N Vohra to inform him about Drabu's removal from the council of ministers. "The people like Drabu are in fact playing the role of Nang-e-Qaum and Nag-e-Millat and in fact are the basic hurdles in the way of resolution of the Kashmir dispute because they provide India the basis to propagate against the people's movement of Kashmir", they said.

Senior NC leader A.M. Sagar asked if Kashmir was a social issue what was the PDP's self-rule all about?

Jammu and Kashmir's Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu was "shell-shocked" when one of his close aides called to tell him that his party had chose to take a tough stand on his comments and remove him from the council of ministers in PDP-BJP collation government, a source close to the minister said.

Drabu has been in the eye of a storm after his remark at a function in Delhi that Kashmir "isn't a political issue".

Malik claimed that after several meetings and deliberations, Drabu and his friend joined JKLF and worked with us for many months. "Whatever are the contours of the issue, it has to be solved politically", a senior PDP minister told ET.

After the statement created political furore in Kashmir, the chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, Malik, came down heavily on Drabu, the MLA from Rajpora constituency of Pulwama in south Kashmir.

In occupied Kashmir, the Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) and other Hurriyat organizations have paid tributes to Eesa Fazli, Owais Shafi and Sabzar Ahmad Sofi, who were martyred by Indian troops in Islamabad town, today. He is suggesting that if people of Kashmir whom he is abusing of having identity crisis by coining terms like "a society in search for itself" are provided enough bribe in form of investments and economy they will shun their resistance and solution will arrive. "It is in this we seek your help", he had said. "Therefore, you are advised to explain as to why (a) statement detrimental to party interests was made", read the notice.

"We will wait for his (Drabu) response".

The PDP will take a call on Drabu's party membership in the next few days. "There was thus the decision to remove him".

Meanwhile, there was a late evening twist to the controversy.

Drabu concluded the speech saying, "Don't see Kashmir as a conflict state; it is not". If he (Drabu) withdraws it (his statement) that would be good.

Vanessa Coleman

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