J&K should not be seen as conflict or political issue: Haseeb Drabu

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NEW DELHI: Jammu and Kashmir shouldn’t be seen as a conflict state or a political problem, but as a society with social issues, state’s Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu has said. Speaking at an event themed ‘Kashmir: the way forward’ here last night, Drabu asked the people to “introspect” over the nature and origins of the situation in the state and how it can be resolved.

“We need to talk to ourselves before we talk to others and this must happen nationally as well,” he said. The PDP leader said there was a dire need to include “concerns” of the people of the state and not to get lost in the “forest of symbols”.

“Don’t see J&K as a conflict state and a political issue, it is a society which has social issues right now. We are trying to find our own space and we are going through a process which many other countries are also going through,” Drabu said.

“It (J&K) is not a political issue as far as I can see. They have been barking up the wrong tree for the last 50 or 70 years by talking about the politics of it, that the political situation has never improved.

“We seriously need to look at in terms of how it is a society that is in search for itself,” he said at the event organized by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Around 130 ambassadors, government officials and business leaders attended the event.

Drabu made a passionate appeal to both the domestic and overseas investors to include Jammu and Kashmir in their investment agenda and help uplift the state’s economic growth.

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“We may be living unhappy lives. Our history may be torturous, but we run profitable businesses.We have done our bit, but somehow the world bypassed us or we let it bypass us and we got into a bit of a quandary.

“That quandary needs to be resolved in some way for us to be able to catch up with the rest of the world,” he said.

“You will find some interesting opportunities where you will not just make money, but also have a lot of fun and will enjoy themselves,” he told investors.

Drabu said there was no need to hard sell Kashmir as it was “pre-sold” and only needed its voice to be heard on business platforms.

“Only the word needs to go out that it is peaceful, and once that happens we will not have enough infrastructure to host people,” he asserted.

Drabu also said that it was not fair to blame media for its negative coverage of Kashmir, noting that TV networks were showing what the civil society wanted to hear.

“All this game that is being played on news channels night after night is a reflection of what the society wants to hear. If you don’t want to hear it, they will not say it,” he said.