Wajahat Habibullah

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Wajahat Habibullah (born 30 September 1945) was the chairperson of the National Commission for Minorities.[1] Prior to this, he held the position of the first Chief Information Commissioner of India.[2] He was an officer of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) from 1968 until his retirement in August 2005.[3] He was also Secretary to the Government of India in the Ministry of Panchayati Raj (Local Government).

Personal life[edit]

Habibullah belonges to a prominent and progressive Taluqdari (Saidanpur,District Barabanki ) family of the United Provinces, members of which excelled in politics and education. He is the son of General Inayat Habibullah,founder of NDA Khadakwasla .[4][5] He was Divisional Commissioner of nine districts in the state of Jammu and Kashmir between 1991 and 1993, which was abruptly terminated by a near fatal road accident, while negotiating with militants occupying the Hazratbal shrine in Kashmir. His children Amar Habibullah and Saif Habibullah are prominent businessmen and his wife Shahila Habibullah is a social worker.[6] He was appointed as a member of the World Bank's Info Appeals Board in July 2010 [7]


He studied at Welham Boys School then known as Welham prep school and went on to go to the Doon School dehra dun,india, from where he also did his Senior Cambridge in 1961; Bachelor of Arts (Honours)History from St Stephens' College, University of Delhi, Delhi, India in 1965; and Master of Arts (History) from University of Delhi, Delhi, India, in 1967.[8] He was a member of Indian Administrative Service.[8][9][10]


Member, Advisory Council, Brookings Doha Center, International Advisory Council, Doha, Qatar Member, Advisory Council, USIP Education and Training Center, Washington DC Chairman, Board of Governors, National Institute of Technology, Srinagar(J&K)


Rajiv Gandhi Award for Excellence in Secularism-1994 Gold Medal for Distinguished Service; Governor of Jammu & Kashmir-1996 Lala Ram Mohan History Award; Delhi University-1967[citation needed]


The Problem Kashmir Today, a Symposium on a Troubled State; Seminar 392-April 1992, New Delhi

Kashmir 1947; Burdens of the Past, Options for the Future: Five Perspectives; Offprint from the Center for Asian Studies, the University of Texas at Austin, 1997

Kashmir, Rajiv Gandhi's India Vol. I Politics Ch. I the Problem Areas pp. 58–60, UBSP

The Islands, Rajiv Gandhi's India Vol. I Politics, Ch. II The Geographic Periphery pp. 237–39, UBS Publishers, 1998, New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, London

Siege: Hazratbal, Kashmir 1993, India Review, Volume 1, No.3 July 2002, pp. 73–98, Frank Cass, London

The Protection of Human Rights in a Disturbed Situation, Searching for Common Ground in South Asia. Center for Pacific Asia Studies, Stockholm, 2003 pp31–42

The Political Economy of the Kashmir Conflict, Special Report 121, USIP Washington DC June 2004

“Kashmiris and the Kashmir Conflict” Review Essay, India Review, Vol 3 No.3 July 2004, pp 230–253. Frank Cass, London

“Government to Citizens Relationship in the Chaning Economic Scenario”, Promise of e-Governance-Operational Challenges ed MP Gupta pp 1–4, Tata McGraw Hill, New Delhi, 2004

“My Kashmir-Conflict and the Prospects of Enduring Peace” USIP Press, Washington DC, May 2008


Mr.Habibullah's elevation as Chief Information Commissioner has thrust him into the centre of many controversies.[citation needed]

  • In 2004 he was accused of asking for US mediation in Jammu & Kashmir.[11]