CM Buzdar finally strikes. Habibur Rehman replaces Dr. Umar Saif as Chairman PITB

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The Punjab government on advice of CM Punjab has removed Dr. Umar Saif as the chairman of the Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB).

According to reports, the provincial government gave the charge of PITB chairmanship to Habibur Rehman, who will be appointed in accordance with the new rules. Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar directed the authorities to form new service rules for the technology board’s top post, they added.

Dr Saif was given the additional charge of PITB chairman in November 2011 by the government of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). He was made responsible for all public-sector information technology projects in the province.

Winner of Sitar-e-Imtiaz Award, Dr Saif also serves as the Information Technology University (ITU) vice-chancellor.

Dr Umar Saif has extensive experience in academia, management, consulting and entrepreneurship in the IT sector. He received his academic training from LUMS, Cambridge and MIT. He did his BSc (Hons) from LUMS (1998), PhD from University of Cambridge (2001) and Post-Doctorate from MIT (2002). He has received executive education from the Harvard Kennedy School on Global Leadership and Public Policy in 2013.

During his tenure as the PITB chairman, Dr Saif launched several initiatives aimed at improving citizen services for police, high-court, city district government, health and education, especially using smartphones. He led the development of Punjab Innovation Policy in collaboration with Google and launched Plan-9, Pakistan’s first and largest public-sector startup incubator. He is largely credited with revamping the intermediate and matric exam system in Punjab, after a complete debacle of the exam system in the previous year.

Under his leadership, PITB designed the smartphone-based early epidemic warning system that played a central role in fighting the dengue epidemic in Punjab in 2012, and rolled out an innovative citizen feedback model for fighting corruption using technology. The PITB also led the deployment of the first Automatic Fare Collection system for mass transit in Pakistan and automated the operations of the first Lahore Metro Bus System. Dr Saif led the development of Pakistan’s first e-learning platform, making school textbooks in Punjab freely available online, augmented with interactive learning resources.

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