As was expected, Umar Saif, the chairman of Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) was removed Monday, November 12 by the Punjab Chief Minister. It may be pertinent to note that the serving chairman was also the vice chancellor of the Information Technology university also within the ambit of the government of the Punjab.
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The just removed chairman of PITB was appointed in 2011, which means his tenure encompassed almost two terms of Mian Shahbaz Sharif as the chief minister of Punjab; a fact which suggested strongly that he was apart from his professional excellence being viewed as the outgoing government nominee. An image which today cost him his job, and most probably will be followed by his removal from the Vice Chancellorship of the Information technology university whose chancellor is the governor of that province.
Here it may be pointed out that being a long serving chairman of the PITB, he was instrumental in putting into action many an ambitious plan charted out by the outgoing Punjab government under the chief minister ship of Shahbaz Sharif. One can call him that he was the Information technology arm of the outgoing government.
Born in 1979, he had his doctorate from LUMS when only 22 years of age. After getting more exposure in United Kingdom, and after his return in 2005, it was the civilian government under the PML N in 2011 which allowed him the playing field necessary for professionals like him to grow.
For that he has been recognized as a mind between developing IT business startup incubators and today the digitization of the Punjab Revenue record owes much to his creative thinking and will; to take the plunge towards more easy government and private sector solutions.
The removal of the PITB chairman comes as shock to the ICT academic circles and has created a bad image for an already shaky new political dispensation. It has sent an impression that professional excellence might take a back seat and political loyalty might be a valued thing to preserve. The new chairman might be soon placed to give an impression of business as usual; however the removal of the dynamic PITB will be felt in days to come.