Altaf Bukhari replaces Dr Hasseb Drabu as Finance Minister

Altaf Bukhari gets additional charge of Finance

According to an order issued by chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, "In pursuance of Rule 5 of Jammu and Kashmir government Business rules and as an interim measure, I Mehbooba Mufti, do hereby assign the charge of the departments of the Finance, Labour and Employment to Syed Muhammad Altaf Bukhari in addition to the government business already assigned to him", the order said.

In a communique to Governor N.N.Vohra, Ms. Mufti also conveyed the People Democratic Party's decision to drop Mr. Drabu from the Council of Ministers.

However, the uneasiness in relations with Mehbooba Mufti crept in after Drabu's wife had charged the CM in 2015 with "killing of children, criminal blinding and maiming of protesters, besides shameless suffocating of an entire population" during the violence following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.

Drabu was made J&K's finance minister by late Mufti Mohammed Sayeed after the PDP formed an alliance with BJP following the 2014 state elections.

Pertinently, Drabu addressing diplomats and investors at the function hosted by the PHD Chamber of Commerce in New Delhi had termed Kashmir issue "apolitical" which incensed his party PDP and also left it facing attacks from both mainstream parties and Hurriat camp as well.

However, the 53-year-old economist's political career kickstarted after the 2002 J&K Assembly elections when the PDP-Congress coalition came to power and he was made the chief economic adviser. He recalled that Drabu played an important role in the formulation of the GST.

Many political leaders have reacted differently to Drabu's comment. Yelling and insulting people who visited him with terse, dismissive remarks like "what do you know" had become the signature style of the former finance minister.

This did not sit well with the leaders in Jammu and Kashmir, and as a result of this, Mehbooba Mufti sacked Drabu on Monday and dropped him from the PDP.

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



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