Qudrat Ullah Shahab

Qudrat Ullah Shahab (or Qudratullah Shahab, Urdu: قدرت ﷲ شہاب; 26 February 1917 – 24 July 1986) was an eminent Urdu writer and civil servant from Pakistan.

Qudratullah Shahab
قدرت الله شہاب
Born(1917-02-26)26 February 1917[1]
Gilgit, British India (now in Pakistan)
Died24 July 1986(1986-07-24) (aged 69)
Islamabad, Pakistan
Resting placeH-8 Graveyard, Islamabad
OccupationCivil servant
Nationality British Indian (1917–1947)
 Pakistani (1947–1986)
Notable worksShahab Nama
SpouseIffat Shahab (died in Canterbury on 17 June 1974, aged: 42)[2]
ChildrenDr Saqib Shahab (son)
ParentsAbdullah Sahib (father)

Shahab holds the distinction of having served as the Principal Secretary to three heads of state; Governor General Ghulam Muhammad, President Iskander Mirza, and President Ayub Khan. He went on to serve as the Ambassador of Pakistan to the Netherlands in 1962 and later as Information Secretary of Pakistan and Education Secretary of Pakistan.[1]

Early lifeEdit

Shahab was born in Gilgit on 26 February 1917. His father, Abdullah Sahib, belonged to the Arain tribe of Chimkor Sahib village, district Ambala, and was a student at Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College and a protégé under the supervision of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan. Abdullah Sahib later migrated from Aligarh and settled down in Gilgit.[3] Shahab first rose to prominence when, at sixteen, an essay he penned was selected for the first prize in an international competition organized by the Reader's Digest, London, and, in 1941, for being the first Muslim from Jammu and Kashmir qualifying for the Indian Civil Service.[4] He later moved to Karachi, Pakistan, after the separation of the sub-continent and took charge as Under-Secretary (Import and Export), Ministry of Trade, of the newly-formed independent state. He also served as the first Secretary General (later the position was renamed as Chief Secretary) of Govt. Of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Qudrat Ullah was deputy commissioner of Jhang. He was behind many government schemes launched for the benefit of writers and intellectuals.[1][5]

Literary worksEdit

Shahab himself published in English and Urdu languages for contemporary newspapers and magazines of Pakistan Writers' Guild, founded at Karachi in January 1959.[6][5]

Shahab's essay "Maaji" poetically outlines the simplicity of his mother and the relationship that his parents shared, detailing migration, governorship, family dynamics, and death in a short chapter.[7]

He is best known for his autobiography Shahab Nama.[1][8]


The real disclosure came in the final chapter of Shahab Nama that alluded to an out-of-world personality whom he used to call Ninety[9] as his spiritual guide. After Shahab Nama published, which was actually after Shahab's death, Mufti wrote his autobiography, Alakh Nagri, and openly discussed the hidden traits of Shahab's life. Mufti wrote in the foreword of the book:

Since Shahab has opened his own secrets in the last chapter of Shahab Nama, I find no reason not to share experiences which I witnessed about the mysticism of Shahab"

— English translation of the original text in Urdu


Mumtaz Mufti made him the subject of his autobiography Alakh Nagri and later dedicated another book Labbaik. Bano Qudsia, a veteran Urdu writer, wrote a book Mard-e-Abresham on Shahab's personality. A collection of essays about Qudrutullah Shahab has been compiled in a book, Zikr-e-Shahab.[8]


Resting place of Shahab at Islamabad Graveyard H-8

Shahab died on 24 July 1986 in Islamabad and is buried in H-8 Graveyard, Islamabad, Pakistan.[1][5]

Honorary stampEdit

On 23 March 2013, Pakistan Post issued a stamp with denomination of Rs. 15 under the "Men of Letters" series in the honour of Qudratullah Shahab.[10]


  • Shahab Nama شہاب نامہ – autobiography (1986)[2][11]
  • Ya khuda,یا خُدا – novel[1][11]
  • Mān̲ jī, ماں جی – short stories[2][1][11]
  • Surk̲h̲ fītāh, سُرخ فِیتہ – short stories[2][1][11]
  • Nafsāne, نفسانے – short stories[1]
  • Shahāb nagar, شہاب نگر – literary miscellany[11]
  • Pathans – an essay about Pashtuns


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Shahabnama, its creator and critics". Dawn (newspaper). 20 July 2009. Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d Abdul Nishapuri (9 September 2004). "Zikr-e-Shahab: Remembering Qudrat Ullah Shahab". Let Us Build Pakistan website. Archived from the original on 23 October 2010. Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  3. ^ Qudrat Ullah Shahab. Shahab Nama. p. 70.
  4. ^ A.A. Jawwad Khurshid, "Qudrat Ullah Shahab" in Crescent, October 2009, p. 53
  5. ^ a b c Profile of Qudrat Ullah Shahab Rekhta.org website, Retrieved 27 October 2022
  6. ^ Farrukh Khan Pitafi (19 April 2018). "A dissenting note". The Express Tribune (newspaper). Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  7. ^ Virani, Shafique, "Maaji by Qudratullah Shahab." The Annual of Urdu Studies, 19, no. 4 (2004):406-15 [1]
  8. ^ a b "Book Review: Shahab Naama". Khudi.pk website. 15 April 2010. Archived from the original on 7 July 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  9. ^ "Qudrat Ullah Shahab profile". Crescent magazine website. Archived from the original on 28 August 2013. Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  10. ^ Qudrat Ullah Shahab (Men of Letters Series) postage stamps Pakistan Post website, Published 23 March 2013, Retrieved 27 October 2022
  11. ^ a b c d e Books by Qudrat Ullah Shahab GoodReads.com website, Retrieved 27 October 2022

External linksEdit