Wajahat Habibullah to head Jammu and Kashmir’s RTI watchdog


Jammu/New Delhi : India’s Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) Wajahat Habibullah, who has submitted his resignation, will take up his assignment as the new Right To Information (RTI) watchdog in Jammu and Kashmir.

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According to official sources, Habibullah, a 1968 batch IAS officer, will be joining as the State Chief Information Commissioner (SIC) on Oct 26.

Officials in the CIC’s office said Habibullah had submitted his resignation to President Pratibha Patil Tuesday and was awaiting its acceptance. He has been CIC since October 2005.

That Habibullah was going to be Jammu and Kashmir’s first SIC was known for a while – he had received an offer from Chief Minister Omar Abdullah earlier this month.

After taking over as chief minister in January, Abdullah listed implementation of the Right to Information Act as one of his top priorities so the state could be at par with the rest of the country.

Keen on ushering in transparency in the functioning of the state’s government departments, Abdullah was keen on Habibullah’s appointment and personally requested him to come to Srinagar.

Habibullah has served in Jammu and Kashmir in several capacities. He was divisional commissioner of nine districts in the state between 1991 and 1993. The assignment was abruptly terminated by a near fatal road accident while negotiating with militants occupying the Hazratbal shrine in Kashmir in October 1993.

He will be in the state for less than a year, and thereafter is being reportedly tipped for a governor’s posting, according to informed sources.

“His essential task would be to help the government in consolidating the dialogue process with Kashmiri separatists with whom he has a personal equation,” a source said.