March 2018 News

Mehbooba Chooses Altaf Bukhari As New Finance Minister

13 March 2018
Brighter Kashmir

Srinagar: A day after the Finance Minister, Hasseb a Drabu was dropped from the council of ministers, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday assigned the additional charge of Finance, Labour and Employment departments to Minister for Education, Syed Altaf Bukhari. According to the order under number 433-GAD of 2018 dated March 13, Mehbooba Mufti assigned the charge of the departments of Finance, Labour and Employment to Altaf Bukhari. 'In pursuance of Rule 5 of the Jammu and Kashmir Government Business Rules and as an interim measure, I Mehbooba Mufti, Chief Minister, Jammu and Kashmir do hereby assign the charge of the departments of Finance, Labour and Employment to Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari in addition to the Government Business already assigned to him,' the order reads. It further reads that this is in partial modification of order number 4274-GAD of 2018 dated 12.03.2018. Earlier, the charges were earlier withdrawn from Haseeb A Drabu who was dropped from the cabinet ministers following his remarks about Kashmir wherein he had stated that 'Kashmir isn't a political issue'. Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday removed Dr Drabu from her cabinet for his remarks that Kashmir is not a political issue. Education Minister Altaf Bukhari has been given additional charge of Finance, Labour and Employment departments. The statement by Dr Drabu created a political storm in the valley and had drawn criticism from the ruling PDP, opposition and separatists alike. The decision by Mehbooba-led government came at a time when the PDP and its coalition partner, the BJP, are at loggerheads on a range of issues, including over rape and murder case of Asifa Bano in Kathua in Jammu region. '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,' Dr Drabu had said at an event 'Kashmir: The Way Forward', organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry at New Delhi. '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 had said. The PDP had on Sunday demanded an explanation from Dr Drabu and asked him to retract his statement immediately as it was contradictory to their stand. The NC had also demanded explanation from the Chief Minister on the statement of Drabu and questioned PDP's stand on Kashmir issue, including Self Rule. Separatist organisations had also reacted sharply against Drabu's statement.