During and after every GST Council meeting, Haseeb Drabu was one of the three most important faces from the Group of Ministers (GoMs) who addressed the media on the decision taken in the newly adopted indirect tax era. And last July, while the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Assembly was divided on the decision to whether adopt the Goods and Services or not, it was Haseeb Drabu, the Finance Minister, who assured enough safeguards to the strife-torn state and got it passed. From fiercely advocating for the GST to explaining decisions and problems in the new regime, he has played a crucial role.
The economist-turned-politician, Haseeb Drabu received accolades for his constructive role in the successful implementation of the GST from his counterpart at the centre — Arun Jaitley. But with Haseeb Drabu being sacked from his position of the state Finance Minister, he is set to lose his seat in the GST Council as well.
The all-powerful GST Council was created as a constitutional body to take decisions regarding the indirect tax. It is chaired by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and comprises of state finance ministers. So far, Haseeb Drabu, Bihar FM Sushil Kumar Modi and Kerala FM Thomas Issac have been at the forefront besides Arun Jaitley.
Haseeb Drabu was sacked for saying that Kashmir is ‘not a political issue’. His statement did not only draw sharp criticism from opposition parties but his own Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) under the leadership of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.
Before joining politics, Haseeb Drabu was a journalist and economist. In 2003, he was appointed as an economic advisor to the then PDP-Congress coalition state government. In 2005, he was appointed as chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Bank.
Known as a loyalist of late PDP supremo Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Haseeb Drabu resigned from the bank’s top post when Omar Abdulla-led Jammu & Kashmir National Conference came to power in 2008. In 2014, he formally joined PDP and won the state election from his home constituency Rajpora.