Orbituray – Zafar Saifullah
Distinguished bureaucrat Zafar Saifullah, the first Muslim to be appointed India’s cabinet secretary (1993 –1994), died in New Delhi on July 25. He was 78. He is survived by two sons and two daughters.
Saifullah was Karnataka batch topper in IAS in 1958 and joined the service as assistant commissioner, Chitradurga in 1960. Having held several positions, he was additional Chief Secretary and Development Commissioner between 1986 to 1991 when he was appointed Secretary, National Minorities Commission in New Delhi, a post he held between 1991 and 1993.
For a brief period, he was chairman Bombay Port Trust and Chairman, Trade Fair Authority of India.
After his retirement, Saifullah deliberately eschewed full-time appointments with Government. However, he engaged himself in matters, which have been dearest to him throughout his career, namely, issues connected with the small man and his needs and demands. In 2010 he set up with his distinguished collegues The India Harmony Foundation for promotion of national harmony.
He was one of the leading Founder-members of the Movement for Empowerment of Muslim Indians (MOEMIN). Following its highly successful National Convention on May 9, 1999 at New Delhi, which resolved to launch the Movement on a nation-wide scale, he was elected as its first Chairman. He was a Member of the Central Wakf Council and Chairman of its Finance Committee; its Education and Womens’ Welfare Committee; and a member of its Monitoring and Legal Experts’ Committees. He was also the Treasurer of the Maulana Azad Education Foundation.
As additional chief secretary in Karnataka he piloted introduction and operation of Karnataka Panchayat Raj System from stage of elections, administrative arrangements for devolution, monitoring, training and coordination, etc.
He was buried in Mumbai.