March 2018 News

J&K FM Sacked For Saying Kashmir Not A Political Issue

12 March 2018
Times of India
M Saleem Pandit

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti sacked her finance minister Haseeb Drabu on Monday, three days after he said at an event in Delhi that Kashmir was not a political issue. Speaking at the event organised by PHD Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Drabu had said: 'J&K is not at all a conflict state nor is it a political issue. It ought to be looked as a society related issue from communities not only from within but also worldwide.' He further added that the need of the hour was to rebuild the economy of J&K 'more through participated efforts of civil society and institutions of excellence as Kashmir should not be looked at (from) the twin angles of conflict and political spectrum'. Sources said the PDP leadership had written to Drabu seeking an explanation for his remarks but he did not bother to reply. On Monday, the ruling party's core committee met and decided to sack him and subsequently Mehbooba sent a letter to governor N N Vohra informing him about her move. Mehbooba will hold the finance portfolio for now. Sources said some of the decisions which Drabu took as finance minister made him unpopular in the government. Among them was replacing the existing 'treasury system' with the 'pay and accounts office (PAO) system', which entailed payments only through online mode, a senior officer in the department said. The officer said that it was pointed out to Drabu by a senior PDP leader that the PAO system would not work as finance ministry staff was not adequately trained. However, he went ahead with the move. Drabu was the architect of the Agenda of Alliance reached between coalition partners PDP and BJP in 2015 when Mehbooba's father Mufti Mohammed Sayeed took over as chief minister. Drabu had also served as the economic advisor to the then Ghulam Nabi Azad government.