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

WION Web Team
SrinagarUpdated: Mar 12, 2018, 03:43 PM IST

Haseeb Drabu. Photograph:(Zee News Network)

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.

One of the architects of the PDP-BJP alliance in the state was unceremoniously removed from the council of ministers by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti over his remarks that the Kashmir issue was not a political one, officials said.

The chief minister, who returned from the national capital to Jammu, shot off a letter to the state Governor N N Vohra requesting him to drop Drabu from her council of ministers with immediate effect, PDP sources said.

The Governor, after examining the letter, wrote back to the chief minister conveying his nod to her request to drop the 57-year-old Drabu from her council of ministers, officials said.

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.

"It (JK) 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," Drabu had said at an event organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry in New Delhi on Friday.

Following the sudden development, the state cabinet meeting scheduled tomorrow was deferred by a week.

"JK State Cabinet meeting which was scheduled to be held tomorrow at 12.30 pm has been postponed. It will be now be held on 20, March 2018 at 11 am," J&K's Department of Information and Public Relations tweeted.

Drabu, a former Business Standard editor, was known to be close to late Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed, father of Mehbooba Mufti.

He plunged into politics in 2014 when he joined the PDP and successfully contested the Assembly elections from his home constituency Rajpora in south Kashmir`s Pulwama district.

He was the chairman and CEO of the Jammu & Kashmir Bank from 2005 to 2010.

He was the economic advisor to the state during the PDP-Congress coalition that came to power after the 2002 elections.

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.

He also served as a consultant to the Asian Development Bank.

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.

(With the inputs from Agencies)