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Dr Umar Saif hopes the govt will appoint the right people to ‘do the dishes’ at the Punjab IT Board

He said everyone wants change but not everyone is willing to do the small things needed for that change

SAMAA | - Posted: Nov 17, 2018 | Last Updated: 3 years ago
Posted: Nov 17, 2018 | Last Updated: 3 years ago

When the new government came in, I didn’t tender my resignation because I didn’t want to make it a political move, said the recently removed chairperson of the Punjab IT Board Dr Umar Saif.

Speaking to SAMAA TV, he said that removing him was both a political and administrative decision, as the new government wants to bring people in whom it trusts and who it will enable.

“When the new government came in, a lot of people left but I didn’t want to make that a political move,” he said. He didn’t want the board to painted in a political light.

Dr Saif, an MIT-educated computer scientist and academic, served as the board’s head from 2011 until his recent dismissal. He also served as the vice-chancellor of the Information Technology University since January 2013. He said he had worked with the new government for six months and had taken their ministers on board, briefed them about everything and introduced them to his team.

We also reflected our ongoing projects in the new budget because we don’t want them to lapse, he said.

Dr Saif said that even though the vice-chancellor’s position had no relation to the government, they thought it appropriate to replace him. There were no allegations of corruption, monetary discrepancies or at the lack of qualifications at the PITB during his tenure, he clarified, adding that their audits are all up to date.

Related: Punjab govt removes Umar Saif as its IT board chairperson

In fact, the government just conducted a special five-year audit of the board. This is a clean, good organistaion, he said.

Dr Saif added that they also worked with the government to launch the Pakistan Citizens Complaint Portal, a mobile application through which people can lodge complaints.

“We achieved a lot in these past seven years,” he said.

I hope that the government will appoint good people in the board that it trusts and enables and who will have its complete political support, said Dr Saif.

Running this board is a complicated matter that involves fighting with doctors who don’t come to hospitals in the morning and then go to practice privately in the evening, or with police officers who aren’t ready to register FIRs and excise inspectors who want to pocket money instead of collecting property tax, he said.

Related: SC dissolves Punjab Healthcare Commission board, orders new one to be formed

Everyone wants to bring about a change but no one is ready to do the small work needed for that change, like washing the dishes, he said.

“The Punjab IT Board’s work is to do the dishes, which is to get into the nitty gritty of the problems that need to be solved by the government so that pilferage stops, tax collection improves, people can work efficiently and corruption is ended,” he explained.

You need political will to do all this, he added. He lauded the prime minister’s mission to provide 10 million people with jobs and said he must take ownership of the programme for it to succeed.

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